LA VERNE 9-17, GEORGE FOX 8-14: Bruin Bats Hot but Pitching Not as Leopards Sweep

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ANTHEM, Ariz. – Although five George Fox University batters posted multiple hits in each game and five home runs in all on the day, the pitching staff allowed 26 runs as the Bruins dropped a baseball twinbill to the University of La Verne Leopards 9-8 in 10 innings and 17-14 on the first day of the Arizona Desert Classic Thursday here at Boulder Creek High School.

In the first game, George Fox starter Brian Ranta went the first five innings and, despite not having his usual sharp control, left with a 4-2 lead.  The Bruins still held a one-run lead with two outs in the 9th when their only error of the game, a muffed grounder to third, let in the tying run, and the Leopards won it in the 10th.

Leading the Bruin offense in the opener were Danny Clifford and David Greenstein with four hits each, the latter playing for the first time this season after missing the first four games in Idaho due to illness.  David Blankenship banged out three hits, while Zach Miller and Josh Rapacz had two apiece.  Clifford, Greenstein, and Miller all smacked home runs.

In the second game, the Bruins fell behind 11-2, rallied to tie it 11-11 after six innings, but then the bullpen could not hold it.  Jared Chase and Greenstein collected three hits each for the Bruins, with Clifford, Rapacz, and Timothy Williams getting a pair of safeties apiece.  Miller and Greenstein also homered again.

"Our offense was terrific today; we were squaring up everything," said Bruin coach Marty Hunter.  "Our defense also played better; we only had one error in the first game, it just came at the wrong time.  We've got to get the pitching straightened out, though; everyone is still trying to find their sharpness."

Now 0-6 on the season, the Bruins will try to pick up that elusive first win of the season Friday with a 2:00 p.m. single game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on the Boulder Creek varsity field.

The Arizona Desert Classic features 12 D-III teams - four from the Pacific Northwest, four from California, and four from Texas - with games being played at Sandra Day O'Connor High School in Phoenix and at Boulder Creek High School in suburban Anthem.  For complete tournament information, including the entire schedule, field locations, admission costs and other information, go to the information sheet on the George Fox baseball website at

--- Box scores currently unavailable