GEORGE FOX 8-10, WHITWORTH 1-5: Bruins Hammer Out 32 Hits in Sweep of Pirates
SPOKANE, Wash. – Hammering out 32 hits on the day, the visiting George Fox University Bruins knocked Whitworth University out of a share of first place in the tightly-packed Northwest Conference baseball race with a doubleheader sweep of the Pirates, 8-1 and 10-5, Saturday afternoon here at Merkel Field.
Stretching their winning streak to five, the Bruins improved to 14-12 overall and 10-4 in the conference, climbing into third in the league standings. The Pirates, who entered the day tied atop the NWC with Pacific University at 7-2, fell to 13-9-1 overall, 7-4 in the conference, and into fifth place in the standings.
Game 1 - George Fox 8, at Whitworth 1
Brian Ranta (4-1), last week's NCAA Division III National Pitcher of the Week after no-hitting Whitman College, turned in another outstanding performance in the opener. Working eight innings, he scattered six hits with two strikeouts, one walk, and one unearned run allowed. Bobby Orozco finished up with a hitless 9th.
George Fox got on the board in the 2nd against Whitworth starter Spencer Ansett (4-2) when Derek Dixon singled and scored on a double by Zac Israel. The Bruins added another in the 4th on a double by Danny Clifford and a RBI single up the middle by Derek Blankenship.
In the 5th, Clifford slugged his fifth home run of the season following a single by Taylor Hunter, and consecutive singles by Israel, Jared Chase and David Greenstein for a run in the 6th made it 6-0. Whitworth got its only run in the last of the 6th on infield singles by Gerhard Muelheims and Nick Motsinger, a throwing error on Motsinger's hit, and an RBI ground out by Landon Scott.
The Bruins added two more in the 7th as Clifford walked, Timothy Williams and Dixon singled to fill the bases, Blankenship singled in a run, and Israel hit a sacrifice fly to right. Their final run came in the 8th as Greenstein singled, advanced on a ground out and a steal of third, and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Josh Rapacz.
Scott was the only Pirate with two hits. For the Bruins, who had 15 hits off three Whitworth hurlers, Greenstein, Hunter, Clifford, Williams, Dixon, Blankenship and Israel had two hits each. Clifford scored three runs and had two RBIs, while Blankenship and Israel drove in two apiece.
Game 2 - George Fox 10, Whitworth 5
Every player in the George Fox lineup had a hit, with Rapacz and Williams collecting three each, as the Bruins banged out 17 hits en route to the second-game win.
A pair of unearned runs, both driven in by a Greenstein single, got the Bruins going in the 2nd. Whitworth got one back in the home half on a single by Tyler Pfeffer, a double by Kevin Valerio, and a sacrifice fly by J.R.Jarrell, but the Bruins answered with two more in the 3rd on RBI singles by Dixon and Israel.
The Bruins built the lead to 7-1 in the 4th on run-scoring singles by Rapacz and Williams and a sacrifice fly by Dixon. They added single runs in the 5th, 6th, and 9th innings to salt the game away. Rapacz singled in the 5th-inning run, a Blankenship ground out scored Williams in the 6th, and Hunter singled in Emmett Ackerlund in the 9th.
Whitworth picked up two runs in the 4th as Pfeffer stroked his seventh home run of the season leading off and Joshua Davis later singled in Jarrell. In the 8th, Justin Liu doubled in a run and Valerio's ground out scored Scott for the final two Pirate runs.
Pirate starter Carson Blumenthal (3-3) took the loss, working 3.2 innings while surrendering 10 hits and seven runs, five earned, with one strikeout and three walks. Taylor Hill (2-2), who relieved George Fox starter Taylor Dunn in the middle of the 4th, got the win with 4.1 innings of three-hit ball, allowing two runs with two strikeouts and one walk. Clay Gartner closed the game with a 1-2-3 9th with two strikeouts.
In addition to Rapacz and Williams' three-hit games, Hunter, Blankenship and Chase had two hits each for the Bruins. Pfeffer collected three hits for the Pirates.
NEXT: The Bruins and Pirates conclude their three-game series Sunday with a single game at 12:00 noon.