SPOKANE, Wash. - Whitworth jumped ahead with a four-run first inning and never looked back en route to an 11-4 win over visiting Willamette on Sunday at Merkel Field to close out the regular season.
Whitworth (25-13, 16-8 Northwest Conference) collected its third conference series sweep of the season with Sunday's victory over Willamette (20-16, 10-14) after topping the Bearcats twice on Saturday.
A leadoff single followed by a pair of defensive errors loaded the bases for Jeremy Druffel in the first inning, who delivered a two-RBI double to right field. Carson Blumenthal produced a two-RBI base hit up the middle to plate two more runs before Willamette could escape the inning.
Willamette erased the shutout in the fourth inning when Tiras Koon homered for the second day in a row, belting a two-run home run -- his 12th home run of the season -- to right field and bringing the Bearcats within 5-2.
Whitworth opened a six-run advantage in the bottom of the fourth inning. Nick Motsinger reached on an infield single and stole second before scoring on an RBI single from Joshua Davis. Matthew Nelson followed Davis with a two-run home run to right field, his second in as many days, as the Pirates took an 8-2 lead.
Thomas Wakem led off the bottom of the fifth inning with his fourth home run of the year, hitting an opposite-field long ball to the scoreboard in right-center field.
The Pirates extended the lead to 10-2 in the sixth inning when Lookabill scored on a balk after the Pirates had placed runners on first and third following a walk to Lookabill and single by Davis.
The Bearcats added a pair of unearned runs in the seventh inning before Lookabill scored Locati with a single in the bottom half of the inning.
Whitworth starter Cory Mack (4-3) pitched seven strong innings for the win, allowing four runs (two earned) with three strikeouts and one walk. Nick Scourey pitched two scoreless innings of relief, allowing one hit and one walk.
Motsinger went 3 for 5 with two runs scored and Druffel was 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored. Davis was 2 for 4 with two runs and one RBI while Blumenthal was 2 for 4 with a walk and two RBIs. Lookabill was 1 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs.
Prior to the start of the game, the Pirates honored their senior class of 10 players with an on-field ceremony.
The Pirates will be the No. 3 seed in the inaugural NWC Tournament next weekend, to be hosted by top-seeded Pacific Lutheran. Whitworth will open the tournament against second-seeded Linfield at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 24. The Pirates and Wildcats each finished 16-8 in conference play but the Wildcats were awarded the higher seed because they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Whitworth.
Pacific Lutheran and fourth-seeded George Fox begin the tournament with a game at 1 p.m. next Friday. The Bruins tied Puget Sound with identical 13-11 conference records, but George Fox owned the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Loggers.