The Pacific University baseball team split a doubleheader with Willamette on Saturday afternoon at Santiam Christian High School in Adair Village, Ore.
The doubleheader was moved to Santiam Christian High School because of wet conditions in Salem to the host Bearcats' John Lewis Field.
The split in the doubleheader for the Boxers puts Pacific at 8-3 overall and 3-2 in the Northwest Conference. The Bearcats move to 7-5 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
Spencer Backstrom (Bellingham, Wash.) struck out the last five batters and Kurtis Kloke (San Bernandino, Calif.) hit a solo home run with two out in the top of the 11th in the nightcap for the 5-4 win.
Backsrom, who entered the game in the bottom of the seventh, shut down Willamette with eight strikeouts – including five straight to end the game. In the top of the seventh, the Boxers had rallied to tie the game at 4, scoring a pair on a two-RBI single by Suyama. Earlier in the inning, Joey Galeno (Auburn, Wash.) and Keithly reached on a hit by pitch and walk to start the inning. Luke Peevyhouse (Phoenix, Ariz.) moved the duo to second and third on a sacrifice bunt to set the stage for the hit by Suyama.
Each team had a chance to score in the 10th with the Boxers' threat ending in a double play and Backstrom getting back-to-back strikeouts with the winning run at second.
With two out in the 11th and a 1-0 pitch to the Boxers' pre-season All-American Kloke, he hit a ball over the left-field fence for what proved to be the difference. Holding a one-run lead, Backstrom ended the game with three more strikeouts to finish the game with eight and his first win of the season.
For the season, Backstrom has struck out 24 in 13.1 innings in six appearances for a 1-0 record and four saves to his credit.
The series will be decided on Sunday in a 4 p.m. tilt to be played at Roy Helser Field on the campus of Linfield College in McMinnville.