Seattle U. 8, Brigham Young 7
U. of Portland 16, Seattle U. 9
The Seatlle University Redhawks, playing their first baseball season since 1986, had five wins prior to this week, and their 28 losses included a shutout by Division III Pacific Lutheran. Win #6 came on April 29, the night prior to this visit. The Redhawks defeated Brigham Young 3-2 (16 innings; story: Seattle U Baseball Wins Marathon Over BYU in 16 Innings, 3-2).
The Redhawks got early leads in both games of this double-header. They started the first game with three runs in the bottom of the first inning, when 3B Josh Kalalau hit an RBI single, and SS Nate Roberts hit a two RBI single. The Cougars answered with two runs in the top of the second, on an RBI double by 3B Austin Hall, and an RBI single by 2B Dane Nielsen.
The Redhawks extended their lead to 4-2 with an RBI single by C Josh Kutz in the third. The Cougars picked up a run in the fourth on an RBI double by Nielson, and took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on a two-run home run by LF Sean McNaughton.
The Cougars added a run in the eighth on a triple by Hall, who scored on a sacrifice fly by Nielson. They got one more in the ninth when SS Brandon Relf stole home during a rundown between first and second base. To get the last out of the inning, the Redhawks moved Phil Parrish, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, from right field to the mound.
The Redhawks were kept off the board from the fourth through the eighth inning by Cougar starter Mark Anderson and reliever Chunner Nyberg. The Redhawks did some damage to their own cause with a bad bunt by CF Doug Buser in the second, and another by Roberts in the seventh, which resulted in a double play on a good defensive play by Cougar 1B Alex Wolfe. The Redhawks also had some bad luck in the sixth. Kalalau hit a ground rule double to center field with 2B Cullen Hendrickson on first. Hendrickson would have scored easily if Kalalau’s ball hadn’t gone over the fence. Instead, he was held at third, and he was there when the inning ended.
The bottom of the ninth started with Kalalau reaching on an error. He went to second on a wild pitch by Nyberg walked the next two batters. He was replaced by Justin Chutt, who was greeted with an RBI single by Kutz. That brought Parrish to bat with a chance to win his own ball game; the score was 7-5, and the bases were loaded. He hit a single to bat in two runs and tie it. The next batter was Buser, and he hit a walk-off single down the left-field line. Parrish got his first win of the season by throwing only four pitches.
Parrish finished the game 2-2 with the two RBI, and Roberts was 2-3 with two RBI. Nielson was 3-3 with three RBI for the Cougars. The Cougars have an 18-22 record, 6-9 in the Mountain West Conference.
The starters for the second game were Arlo Evasick for the Redhawks, and Jack Varce for the Pilots. Varce came into the game with a 5-1, 2.86 ERA record, and an impressive 79 strikeouts. He struck out five more in this one, but left the game in the fourth inning. Evasick was an all-star at Everett CC; he leads the Redhawks with 34 strikeouts, but has only one win to show for it.
The Redhawks led 3-2 after five innings. The Pilots got their runs in the first when SS Kris Kauppila scored on a ground out, and 2B Riley Henricks scored on a passed ball. The Redhawks answered with an RBI single by DH Josh Kalalau, a run scored by SS Cullen Hendrickson on a wild pitch, and a sacrifice fly by RF Phil Parrish.
However, the Redhawks’ pitching staff was depleted by the 16 inning game the previous night, and Evasick was left in too long. The Pilots got four runs in the sixth, three of them on a home run by 3B Matt Mardesich. They got four more in the seventh before Evasick was relieved.
J.R. Bunda, who took over from Varce, got his first win of the season. The Pilots are now 28-9, and are 11-1 in the West Coast Conference; they trail San Diego by one game, and host the Toreros next weekend. The Redhawks are now 7-29.
Story from Seattle U. official site: Seattle U Baseball Defeats BYU in Dramatic Fashion Before Loss to Portland
The Redhawks play their home games at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue, eight miles away from the Seattle U. campus. The university doesn’t have any available land on or near the campus, so Bannerwood Park will be home for the baseball team for the forseeable future. Bannerwood Park is well outside downtown Bellevue, the city best known as the international headquarters of Microsoft. Bellevue looks like a piece of Southern California transplanted to the Seattle area. Plans have been made to replace the decent-quality natural grass in Bannerwood Park with FieldTurf, so that visiting teams have a reasonable expectation of being able to play baseball when they make the trip. They also plan to move the bullpens outside of the playing area.