PORTLAND, Ore. – Timothy Williams tied a George Fox University record with two triples and drove in five runs in a 7-4 first-game win, but the University of Puget Sound Loggers scored two in the 9th to stun the Bruins 2-1 in the second game of a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader Friday afternoon here at Concordia University's Hilken Stadium.
With the split, George Fox slipped to 15-14 overall and 11-6 in conference play, while Puget Sound improved to 5-22-1 overall and 2-12 in the league. The second-game loss dealt a damaging blow to the Bruins' chances of winning the conference, as they are now four games behind in the loss column with only seven left to play to Pacific University, which swept Whitman College Friday and leads the NWC with a 12-2 record.
Game 1 - George Fox 7, Puget Sound 4
Williams tied the Bruins' record for triples in a game with three-baggers in 1st and 5th innings, equaling a mark first set by Chris Wakeland in 1994, then tied by Ryan LeBreton in 1999 and Matt Wyckoff in 2008. Wakeland, who later played at Oregon State University, is the only former Bruin to play in the major leagues, getting cups of coffee with the Detroit Tigers and the Florida Marlins.
The Bruins got going in the 1st by loading the bases against Logger starter Matt Robinson (1-5) on singles by David Greenstein and Josh Rapacz and a walk to Danny Clifford. Williams cleared the bases with a drive to the gap in right-center and scored the fourth run of the inning on Derek Dixon's grounder to third.
In the 5th, Greenstein tripled to the wall in right-center and Rapacz beat out a slow roller to third, with Greenstein holding. After a wild pitch sent Rapacz to second, Williams tripled to left-center and came all the way around when the ball was bobbled.
George Fox ace Bruin Ranta (5-1) went eight stellar innings, scattering five hits with nine strikeouts and no walks. The only run he allowed came in the 5th on a single by Andrew Grady and a triple by Jake Boley, ending his string of innings without allowing an earned run at 21.2.
Down 7-1, the Loggers turned the game into a nail-biter in the 9th against the Bruins' bullpen. Will Mentor singled to lead off and Casey Coberly drilled a mammoth home run 400 feet to left-center, his first of the year, off Brian Davis to make it 7-3. Stone walked, and after Davis went to 3-0 on Matt Cox, Bobby Orozco relieved and finished the free pass, then walked Christian Carter to fill the bases. Addison Melzer's RBI grounder to second made it 7-4 before Alex Keenan came in to close. After a strikeout, he walked Connor Savage to fill the sacks, but notched his third save by retiring Jimmy Hosmer on a grounder to first.
Greenstein and Rapacz had three hits each out of the Bruins' total of 13, with Williams and Dixon getting two apiece. The Loggers had seven hits, three by Mentor and two by Coberly.
Game 2 - Puget Sound 2, George Fox 1
Right-handers Nathan Aguiar (3-5) for Puget Sound and Taylor Dunn for George Fox locked horns in a pitching duel in the nightcap. The game was scoreless through five-and-a-half innings before the Bruins broke though with a run in the 6th on a walk to Greenstein, a sacrifice by Taylor Hunter, and a double by Rapacz.
Dunn, who struck out five and walked one, was pulled after allowing a lead-off single to Stone in the 8th, only the fourth hit off him. Clay Gartner relieved and, after a sacrifice, allowed a soft single to center by Boley that sent Stone to third. Savage's sharp grounder toward right was snared by Dixon at first, who threw home to nail Stone and preserve the Bruins' 1-0 lead.
In the UPS 9th, Mentor led off with a single and Coberly launched one to the center-field fence almost 420 feet away for a game-tying triple. Keenan (2-3) replaced Gartner and allowed a soft single to right by Bobby Hosmer, but Williams in right had played the ball perfectly, deking Coberly into thinking he was going to catch it, and when the ball fell in and Coberly tried to score, Williams threw him out at the plate to keep the game tied.
Melzer came through in the clutch for the Loggers, however, with a double to right-center to score Hosmer. A single by Stone and a hit by pitch against Grady loaded the bases, but Keenan left them there with a shallow fly to right and a ground out.
In the George Fox 9th, Aguiar hit Dixon with one out and Derek Blankenship singled pinch runner Emmett Ackerlund to second. Zac Israel fanned for the second out and Zach Miller stepped in to pinch hit. Aguiar's first pitch sailed all the way to the netting behind home plate on the fly, but the rebound went straight back to catcher Bobby Hosmer, who was able to get Ackerlund trying to advance to third for the final out.
Aguiar scattered six hits in the route-going performance, fanning five and walking two. Rapacz was the only Bruin with two hits off him. Coberly and Stone each had two hits out of the Loggers' total of 10.
The Bruins and Loggers will complete their three-game series Sunday with a single at 1:30 p.m. The games are being played at Concordia because of unplayable conditions in the outfield at the Bruins' Morse Field.