March 10, 2012

PACIFIC 7-5, GEORGE FOX 1-6: Keenan Shuts Door to Give Bruins DH Split with Boxers

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FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Reliever Alex Keenan struck out the side in the 9th inning to preserve a 6-5 second-game win for the George Fox University Bruins, who earned a split of their Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader after the Boxers had taken the opener 7-1 behind ace right-hander Rob Dittrick Saturday afternoon here at Bond Field.

The twinbill was played at Pacific with George Fox as the home team due to unplayable outfield conditions at the Bruins' Morse Field in Newberg.

Game 1 – Pacific 7, George Fox 1

Dittrick (3-1), the 2011 NWC Pitcher of the Year, did not have a particularly easy time against the Bruins as he surrendered seven hits, walked two, hit six batters, and never had a 1-2-3 inning.  However, he got the big outs when he needed them as he stranded 12 Bruin base runners and struck out seven in a route-going performance.  The only run he allowed came in the 3rd on consecutive two-out singles by Taylor Hunter, David Greenstein, and Josh Rapacz.

The Boxers took a 3-0 lead in the 2nd against George Fox ace Brian Ranta (1-1).  Jared Van Hoon doubled inside the third-base line and scored on Logan Moen's single off the glove of Ranta that deflected into right field.  After a bunt single by Nate Rasmussen and a walk to Jordan Siu, Michael Arakaki's force out at second scored Moen, and Rasmussen scored on a balk.

In the Pacific 3rd, Chad Fahey and Van Hoon singled, with Fahey scoring on a wild throw to third from right field, and Van Hoon scored on a Moen double.  The Boxers added a run in the 7th against reliever Bobby Orozco when Nick Tasaka was hit by a pitch and scored on a double to right-center by Greg Tellez, and another in the 8th when Rasmussen doubled and came around on a wild pitch and a balk by reliever Carl Mason.

Rapacz was the only Bruin with two hits.  Pacific had 11 safeties off three Bruin hurlers, with Van Hoon and Rasmussen collecting three apiece and Fahey and Moen with two each.

Game 2 – George Fox 6, Pacific 5

George Fox jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st against southpaw Jason Sawyer (0-2) as Todd Nagamine drew a lead-off walk, was sacrificed to second, and scored on Rapacz's two-out single to left.  Rapacz advanced to second on the throw home and scored on a single to right by Timothy Williams.

The Bruins added another run in the 3rd as Danny Clifford singled, was sacrificed to second, went to third on Derek Blankenship's single to left, and scored on a suicide squeeze by Nagamine.  In the 3rd, Nick Benish hit a two-out double and scored on a single by Clifford.

Pacific rallied in the 5th on singles by Allan Cushing and Donnie Bradley and a three-run shot to right by Nick Tasaka, his second home run of the season.  The Bruins got two of them back in the home half, starting with a lead-off single by Rapacz.  Williams sacrificed and was safe when reliever Tyler Kotchik's throw hit him, allowing Rapacz to go to third.  Benish doubled in Rapacz with Williams going to third, and Clifford's sacrifice fly to right plated Williams. 

Those runs proved crucial when Pacific scored twice in the 7th off reliever Clay Gartner.  Fahey walked and went all the way to third when a grounder to third by Van Hoon was thrown wildly to second on a force attempt.  Fahey scored on a 4-3 ground double play before Rasmussen lined his first home run of the season, a solo shot high off the left-field foul pole.

Keenan came on in the 8th and walked Allan Cushing to start the inning, but out of it with a sacrifice, a strike out, and a fly to left.  He then fanned three in the 9th while allowing a one-out single to Van Hoon, his first save of the season.  Bruin starter Taylor Dunn (2-1) was the beneficiary of the save after allowing seven hits and three runs in five-plus innings, striking out three and walking one.

Rapacz banged out three of the Bruins' 10 hits, with Benish, Clifford and Blankenship getting two apiece.  Van Hoon had three hits and Rasmussen two to account for half of the Boxers' 10 hits.

NEXT: George Fox (7-10, NWC 3-2) and Pacific (6-9, NWC 3-2) will conclude their three-game conference series Sunday with a single game at 12:00 noon at Bond Field, weather permitting.

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