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Pacific splits with Willamette in season finale

Baseball - Boxers secure fourth 20-win season under head coach Greg Bradley
by: Chase Allgood, Pacific junior Blaine Knuth delivers a pitch during the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader against Willamette.

Pacific secured its fourth 20-win season in the last seven years and sent the program's six seniors out on a high note as the Boxers split their Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader with Willamette Sunday at Chuck Bafaro Stadium.

In the opener, the Bearcats scored all of their runs on home runs by Max Stephan and Kyle Stalker to take a 5-2 victory. In the nightcap, the Boxers used a nine-run fourth inning to blow things wide open and secure a 14-4 victory in the final game of the season for both teams.

Matt Hendryx led the Boxers offensively in his final game in a Pacific uniform, finishing with three hits, including a pair of doubles. Fellow senior Jeff Johnston set a new Pacific single-season record for doubles, hitting his 16th of the season in his final at-bat to surpass the previous record of 15 set by Mike Studer in 1990.

Willamette (20-20, 16-15) scored all of its runs in Game 1 by way of the long ball. Sean Anderson and Jack McGee singled to open the second inning, setting the table for Stepan, who sent a three-run shot over the right field fence.

Pacific sophomore Kaeo Lau Hee reached on an error to open the home half of the second and later scored on a ground out, cutting the Bearcats' lead to 3-1.

Willamette added two more runs in the sixth inning when Stalker clubbed his NCAA Division III-leading 22nd home run, a two-run shot to right field. The Boxers (20-20, 17-15) got a run back in the bottom of the sixth when junior Nick McNeely singled and scored on a double by Lau Hee, but that was as close as Pacific would get.

Tye Sundlee went the distance for Willamette to earn his second win of the season, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts. Brandon Larson took the loss in his final outing as a Boxer, allowing the five runs on five hits and one walk while striking out three.

Willamette opened Game 2 with the lead, scoring a run in the second and two in the fourth. Bearcat pitcher Jarrid Summers had not allowed a hit until the Boxers rattled him for six during the team's nine-run fourth. McNeely and sophomore Andrew Curtin each doubled in runs, while Lau Hee, Jordan Nakayama and Zach Gantenbein added RBI singles as a total of 12 batters came to the plate.

The Bearcats scored one in the sixth on T.C. Lee's solo home run to left, but the Boxers put things away with five more runs in the sixth on Johnston's double, a McNeely single and a two-run double by Joey Pulito.

Blaine Knuth earned his fourth win of the season for the Boxers, allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits and one walk with three strikeouts in six innings of work. Summers was collared for his fourth loss of the season, allowing six runs on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in 32/3 innings.

With the split, Pacific finished 20-20 overall - the team's fourth 20-win season under head coach Greg Bradley - and finished a half-game ahead of Willamette for fourth place in the Northwest Conference.

NOTES: Willamette won the series opener on Saturday, 12-2, behind a complete game six-hitter from starting pitcher Clint Moran and a 13-hit offensive barrage ... The fourth game of the series, originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, was canceled due to a Willamette scheduling error. An oversight resulted in the Bearcats scheduling 41 games this season, one more than the NCAA limit. Per NCAA rules, Pacific received a forfeit win for the game, while it will be listed as 'no contest' for Willamette.