LEWISTON, Idaho – Eight George Fox University pitchers were unable to quell the bats of their opponents in two games of the Guardian Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Tournament as the Bruins lost 13-11 to the Concordia University-Portland Cavaliers and 13-6 to the host Lewis-Clark State College Warriors Saturday here at Harris Field.
Game 1 - Concordia-Portland 13, George Fox 11
Late-inning relief woes plagued the Bruins for the second straight game as the bullpen gave up nine runs in the final three innings. The Bruins had leads of 6-4 after six innings and 10-7 after seven, but could not hold onto either advantage.
Concordia got an unearned run in the top of the 2nd and made it 3-0 on two RBI grounders in the 3rd. The Bruins came back with a pair in the last of the 3rd on a run-scoring grounder by Taylor Hunter that plated Todd Nagamine and a single by Josh Rapacz that scored Jared Chase. The Cavs extended their lead to 4-2 in the 4th as Calvin Nagy singled, advanced on a wild pitch and a balk, and scored on Ben Talbot's double.
George Fox erupted for four runs in the last of the 6th to take a 6-4 lead. Rapacz led off with a single, Danny Clifford singled pinch runner Matthew Zeller to second, and Derek Blankenship bunted for a hit to load the bases. Timothy Williams singled in the two tying runs, and Blankenship scored the go-ahead run from third on a bad throw by the catcher as Williams stole second. After a sacrifice bunt by Stephen Ossey, Zach Miller's sacrifice fly to left scored Williams.
The Bruins were unable to hold that lead in the 7th, however. Two walks and a double by Mike Cero scored one run, and C.J. Watson later singled in a pair to put the Cavs on top 7-6.
Again the Bruins responded with a four-spot in the home half to build a 10-7 lead. Hunter singled, Rapacz walked, and Clifford bunted for a hit to load the bases before Blankenship singled in the tying and lead runs. Williams' bunt single reloaded the bases, and Zeller, running for Rapacz, scored from third on a wild pickoff throw to second. Nagamine's sacrifice fly to left scored Blankenship with the final run.
George Fox southpaw Connor Harris (0-1) could not contain the Cavs in the 8th, however, and wound up with the loss. Jordan Keeker doubled to lead off and scored on Carl Beckert's single, Blake Drake's double scored Beckert, and Cero singled in Drake with the tying run. Carl Mason replaced Harris and gave up a double to Ryan Rodriguez, a go-ahead RBI single to Talbot, and an unearned run on a throwing error to second on a steal attempt by Ross Hasegawa that allowed Rodriguez to score from third.
Concordia got an insurance run in the 9th as Cero singled in Keeker, off-setting a George Fox run in the final frame that was produced by a Derek Dixon double to score Blankenship, who had reached on an error.
Jason Snodgrass (1-0) got the win for the Cavaliers with four innings of relief work, despite allowing five runs, three earned, in that span. The Bruins used five pitchers, all of whom gave up at least one run.
Each team hammered out 16 hits. Clifford and Williams had three hits apiece for the Bruins, while Chase, Rapacz, Blankenship and Nagamine had two each. For Concordia, Cero was a perfect 3-3, while Keeker, Nagy and Talbot each had two hits.
Game 2 - at Lewis-Clark State 13, George Fox 6
Defensive struggles proved to be the Bruins' undoing against the powerful Warriors, who are ranked No. 11 in the NAIA, as eight of the home team's runs were unearned due to five George Fox errors.
Clay Gartner (0-1), who defeated the Warriors 5-3 in their only meeting last year, was touched for eight runs in the 2nd, though only five were earned due to an error at third that kept the inning alive. Alfonso Casillas led off the frame with a home run, then after Braxton Miller reached on a throwing error and Bobby Tannehill walked, Billy Silvestri doubled them in. Connor Moore, Kyle Knigge, and Zach Holley followed with RBI singles, and Tannehill capped the rally with a two-run single.
George Fox cut the Warriors' lead in half with four in the 5th, though all the runs were unearned. With two out, Zeller walked, Chase was hit by a pitch, and Blankenship walked to load the bases. Clifford reached on a throwing error at short that scored two runs, Sean Eberhardt singled in Blankenship, and Clifford scored on wild pitch.
Lewis-Clark State added three more runs in the last of the 5th off reliever Spencer Eager, all unearned due to an error at short, with Moore slugging a two-run triple. The Warriors concluded their scoring with two in the 7th off Bobby Orozco, also unearned and without a hit as the Bruins committed three miscues.
The Bruins got two runs in the 8th. Zeller walked with the bases loaded to force in Emmett Ackerlund, and Zach Miller, who had doubled for the only hit in the frame, scored on a throwing error at short.
L-C State hurlers Anthony Armanino and Tyler Duffin (1-0) allowed only four George Fox hits in nine innings, Duffin getting the win because Armanino was pulled with two out in the 5th. Bruin hurlers surrendered 10 hits, with Moore and Knigge getting two apiece.
NEXT: George Fox (0-3) will play Concordia-Portland (2-3) at 11:00 a.m. and Lewis-Clark State (5-2) will take on the University of British Columbia (2-1) at 2:00 p.m. Sunday to conclude the Guardian Tournament.