PORTLAND, Ore. – Buoyed by 5.2 innings of stalwart relief by Taylor Hill, the George Fox University Bruins closed the 'home' and Northwest Conference portions of their 2012 baseball season by completing a three-game sweep of the 21st-ranked Linfield College Wildcats 9-1 Sunday afternoon here at the University of Portland's Joe Etzel Field.
George Fox starter Tom Zarosinksi struggled with his control, walking three in the top of the 1st but escaping unscathed as the Wildcats' Tim Wilson was caught stealing at second and Jordan Harlow was caught trying to advance to third on a ball four in the dirt to Kyle Chamberlain to end the inning. After he hit two batters with one out in the 2nd, however, he was pulled in favor of Hill (4-3), who came on to get a ground double play to end the inning.
Hill proceeded to blank the Wildcats over the next five innings before they finally got to him for a run in the 8th, but by then, the Bruins had the game well in handd. The senior right-hander scattered six hits in his 5.2 innings, striking out three with no walks, before Clay Gartner finished with two innings of one-hit relief.
The Bruins struck for two runs in the 1st against wild Linfield right-hander Chris Haddeland (1-2). David Greenstein led off with a single, stole second, and went to third on Taylor Hunter's single off the glove of diving third baseman Harlow. Haddeland's first wild pitch scored Greenstein and sent Hunter to second, and Danny Clifford's single to left put Hunter on third. Haddeland then threw another one in the dirt and to the backstop as Hunter scored.
In the 4th, Haddeland hit Derek Blankenship and Austin Egger, and with two out, John Mountz grounded a single to right to score Blankenship. Jared Chase's soft single to center, just out of the reach of second baseman Wilson, scored Egger, and Greenstein delivered Mountz and Chase with a ringing double to left-center.
The Bruins tacked on three more in the 7th against reliever Zach Brandon. Greenstein and Hunter singled, and Clifford knocked them both in with a double to the wall in dead center. Jacob Nolte relieved and threw a wild pitch to send Clifford to third, then gave up a run-scoring triple down the left-field line to Timothy Williams.
Linfield got its only run in the 8th off Hill. Wilson and Harlow singled to put runners at the corners, and Gartner threw a wild pitch as Wilson scored before settling down to get three straight outs. He gave up a hit to Chance Laboda in the 9th before inducing a game-ending double play from Kenny Johnson
George Fox is now 19-18 overall while Linfield is 21-13. Both teams finished with 15-9 conference records, tying for fourth place.
The Bruins recognized six graduating seniors playing their last 'home' game in pre-game ceremonies: Greenstein, Hunter, Hill, John Mountz, Brian Davis, and Brian Ranta. George Fox actually played no games this year at their home park, Morse Field, due to excessively-wet grounds that will probably not dry out until some time in summer.
NEXT: With final exams next week, George Fox will be off until closing the season with three games in the Linfield Tournament Friday-Sunday, May 4-6. The Bruins will take on Pacific Lutheran University on May 4 at 6:30 p.m., Lewis-Clark State College on May 5 at 12:00 noon, and Linfield on May 6 at 3:30 p.m. ... Linfield visits Lewis-Clark State this Friday-Sunday for three singles, with games at 6:00 on Friday and 1:00 p.m. the other two days.