By Dani Saunders
The Bearcat baseball team played this last Friday and Saturday, taking on the Garnet from Swarthmore College. It was a successful weekend, with the Bearcats coming out on top with a three-game sweep, advancing their record to 12-11 on the season.
On Friday, March 16, the first game of the series started out with a bang as the Bearcats secured a four-run lead over Swarthmore. Seniors Cameron Igarashi and Troy Conway lit up the first inning as Igarashi knocked out a base-hit and Conway followed up with a walk. Both players advanced on a pass ball and then scored on two ground-out RBIs, one from junior Connor Bailey and the other from senior Eric Del Prado.
The Bearcats scored one more run in the bottom of the second inning with help from seniors Perry Van Eckhardt (who walked and stole a base) and Del Prado (who hit a single), allowing Van Eckhardt to score. There was little to no action from the Bearcats offensively until the seventh inning when Van Eckhardt hit a single to get on base and Igarashi bunted to advance Van Eckhardt to second. Conway hit a single, allowing Van Eckhardt to score, and then Bailey came up to bat and blasted a two-run homerun. Senior Jack Brett scored the final run of the game for the Bearcats in the bottom of the eighth with a solo homerun. The final score of the game on Friday was 8-3 with a Willamette victory.
On Saturday, the 17th, the first game of the doubleheader began with a two-run lead from Swarthmore in the first three innings. The bottom of the third inning saw action as Igarashi hit a single and advanced on a bunt from Conway. Bailey came up to the plate and hit another two-run home run to tie up the game 2-2. The Garnet scored again in the top of the sixth inning, but then the Bearcat offense scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth, making the score 7-3. Hits by Van Eckhardt, junior Tyler Janitz, Igarashi, and Bailey contributed to the advance. Swarthmore tacked on one more run and that was it, leaving the score 7-4 with the Bearcats on top with a second game win of the series.
The second game on Saturday lit up during the bottom of the second inning when Del Prado shot a double to right field. Sophomore Brendan Natuzzi sacrifice bunted to advance Del Prado, and then Brett hit an RBI double to score Del Prado. Janitz hit a single to advance Brett to third and himself onto first, and then Van Eckhardt blasted another single, scoring another run for the Bearcats. Senior Mason Fessler walked after this to load up the bases. Six runs were scored in the second inning. The Garnet attempted to answer back, but they did not come close as the Bearcats came back in the bottom of the fourth inning to tack on three more runs, making the score 9-2. One last run was scored in the fifth inning by Van Eckhardt.