SALEM, Ore. - Early 4-0 and 6-3 leads fell by the wayside as Whitman College dropped a 14-9 Northwest Conference baseball game to Willamette here Sunday afternoon.
After Willamette scored twice in the bottom of the sixth to catch Whitman at 7-7, the Missionaries inched back in front with a run in the top of the seventh.
But the Bearcats, after taking the lead with two runs in the bottom of seventh, broke the game open with five runs on six hits and three errors in the eighth.
Whitman tallied its final run in the ninth when freshman Aaron Cohen lef off with a single and later scored on an infield single by Chris Andrews.
Willamette, now 9-9 in the NWC and 18-14 overall, won the slugfest on the strength of 18 hits.
Whitman, slipping to 3-18 in conference and 4-28 on the season, produced plenty of hits (12), but wasn't able to keep the Bearcats from scoring at least one run in each of their last seven innings.
The Missionaries led 1-0 in the first frame after Jimmy Madden singled, moved around to third base on a passed ball and wild pitch, and scored on an error by the Willamette right fielder.
Kyle Moyes, who finished the game with four hits (plus a base on balls), led off the Whitman second with his second home run of the season.
After Kyle Buckham reached on an error and Andrews walked, Madden's sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position for Cameron Young, who drilled a two-run single into left field.
T.C. Lee's three-run homer in the bottom of the third cut Willamette's deficit to 4-3, but Whitman pushed across two runs in the top of the fourth to lead 6-3. Moyes singled, moved to second when Buckham walked, and scored the first of those runs when an Andrews sacrifice bunt triggered a Willamette throwing error.
After Andrews stole second and Madden was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Jay Richards drove an RBI-sacrifice fly to right field.
Willamette crept back to within 6-5 on the scoreboard, but Whitman scored a run in the sixth to lead 7-5 when Moyes doubled and came home on Madden's single to center. The Missionaries had a chance for more after Richards singled and Young was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but a ground-out left all three runners stranded.
Willamette knotted the game at 7-7 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth.
The Missionaries took their final lead with a run in the top of the seventh. Cohen singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Casey Minnick, and scored when Moyes singled to center.
In addition to four hits from Moyes, Whitman got three hits from Madden and two from Cohen.
Whitman is off this weekend and then closes out its season on April 30 and May 1, when it hosts a three-game series against Whitworth at Borleske Stadium.
Willamette 14, Whitman 9
Whit 130 201 101 - 9 12 3
Will 003 112 25x - 14 18 4
Matherly, Gavin (6), Spilinek (9) and Madden. Torgerson, Smith (6), Johnson (7) and Summers.
HR - Whit: Moyes. Will: Lee.
Hits - Whit: Madden 3, Richards, Young, Cohen 2, Moyes 4, Andrews. Will: Bloom, Kawamura, Giza 4, Lee 3, Stepan 3, Semlacher, Reid, Chinn 2, Summers, Schilf.