LEWISTON, Idaho – Ending a snake-bitten stay in the Guardian Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning Baseball Tournament Sunday here at Lewis-Clark State College's Harris Field, the George Fox University Bruins committed six errors, gave up four unearned runs, and dropped a 5-4 decision in 11 innings to the Concordia University-Portland Cavaliers.
Concordia took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 1st when Jordan Keeker reached on a forceout, went to third on a wild pickoff throw by George Fox starter Taylor Dunn, and scored on an error at third by Danny Clifford, who was playing there for the first time after three games at first base.
The Bruins tied it in the 2nd as Derek Dixon doubled and scored on an error by Concordia third sacker Jared Young. In the 3rd, the Bruins forged ahead on a single by Derek Blankenship, a walk to Clifford, and an RBI single by Josh Rapacz.
The Cavaliers regained the lead with a pair in 4th. With two out, Mike Cero singled and Sheldon Austria was safe at first when Dunn dropped a throw from first baseman Dixon while covering the bag on a bunt attempt for a hit, with Cero scampering to third. Dunn then threw a wild pitch to score Cero, and Austria scored on another error at third.
Back came the Bruins in the 7th. Timothy Williams led off with a double and went to third on Stephen Ossey's bunt single. Zach Miller singled in Williams, Todd Nagamine sacrificed to put runners at second and third, and Blankenship's sacrifice fly to center scored pinch runner Matthew Zeller as the Bruins took a 4-3 lead.
In the last of the 9th, Mike Dickman led off with a single and went to third on relief pitcher Taylor Hill's wild pickoff attempt. Jimmy Sanchez' ground out to short tied the game and sent it into extra innings.
George Fox went three up-three down in both the 10th and 11th innings before Concordia came up with the winning run. Dickman drew a lead-off walk from new pitcher Sean Eberhardt (0-1), was sacrificed to second by Sanchez, and went to third on Jordan Keeker's single, his fifth hit of the game. Keeker went to second on a wild pitch and Cameron Beckert was intentionally walked to set up a force at any base, but Sean Myrom greeter reliever Brian Davis with a game-winning single down the left-field line.
Dunn and Hill gave the Bruins some of their best pitching of the week as each worked five innings, allowing six hit and no earned runs apiece. Dunn struck out two and walked one, while Hill fanned five with no walks. Concordia starter Larsen Kohler went seven innings, scattering six hits with three strikeouts and two walks while allowing four runs, three earned. Oliver Wange (1-0) got the win with four innings of one-hit shutout relief, fanning two with no walks.
Williams was the only Bruin with two hits. In addition to Keeker's five-hit game, Cero and Austria added two hits each to the Cavaliers' total of 14.
The Bruins finished the tournament 0-4 against NAIA teams, two of them nationally-ranked (#20 University of British Columbia and #11 Lewis-Clark State). George Fox, after leading the nation in fielding last year with a .975 average, was plagued all weekend by defensive lapses, committing 19 errors and allowing 19 unearned runs.
NEXT: George Fox will play five games against NCAA Division III teams in the Arizona Desert Classic at Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Ariz., Feb. 16-19. The Bruins will start with a doubleheader against the University of La Verne on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. ... Concordia (3-3) visits the University of Puget Sound Friday for a single game at 1:00 p.m.