PUGET SOUND 6-2, GEORGE FOX 5-10: Bruins’ Game 2 Outburst Saves Split with Loggers

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TACOMA, Wash.  – After fumbling away the first game 6-5 with five costly errors that led to four unearned University of Puget Sound runs, the George Fox University Bruins bounced back with 12 hits en route to a 10-2 second-game win and a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader split Saturday afternoon here at UPS's West Field.

In the first game, the Bruins, ranked 22nd in the latest D3baseball.com poll, dropped their third game in a row, all after holding sizeable early leads.  This time, the Bruins' usually-steady defense did them in, as all five of the George Fox errors occurred in the two frames in which the Loggers scored.

The Bruins built a 3-0 lead with single runs in the first, third, and fifth innings against UPS starter Matt Robinson.  Dan Winterstein led off the game with a single, was sacrificed to second, and scored on a single by Sam Stahl, the conference RBI leader.  In the third, Nate Hickok and Taylor Hunter walked and Stahl hit a two-out single to plate Hickok.  Winterstein's third home run of the season was a solo shot in the fifth.

George Fox ace Brian Ranta (7-2) took a three-hitter into the sixth when it all fell apart for the Bruins.  Dakota Resnick singled with one out and Nick Cherniske reached on a potential double-play grounder to third that was booted.  Casey Coberly walked, and Will Mentor singled in two runs.  Christian Carter hit into a 6-4 forceout, but the relay to first was thrown away as Coberly scored the tying run.  An error at short and a wild pitch got Carter home with the go-ahead run.

George Fox regained the lead without the benefit of a hit in the seventh.  Winterstein was hit by a pitch with one out and Hunter walked before Robinson was replaced by Cameron Duvall (2-3).  Stahl walked after a double steal, Eric Gantenbein walked to force in the tying run, and Derek Aldrich hit a sacrifice fly to center to plate Hunter for a 5-4 Bruin lead, which they took into the last of the ninth.

Jeff Walton led off the last frame with a single and Tucker Barney reached on an infield hit off Ranta's glove. Andrew Grady laid down a sacrifice bunt and was safe when the throw to first was dropped, filling the bases.  Jacob Brown replaced Ranta and failed to handle Resnik's grounder as Walton scored the tying run.  Cherniske then singled to left-center as Barney scored the winning run.

Ranta struck out seven and walked only one while scattering nine hits in the tough-luck loss.  Stahl went 4-for-4 while Winterstein had two hits and scored three runs, but the bottom six positions in the George Fox order went 0-for-21.  Resnick and Coberly had two hits each for the Loggers, who had 10 in all.

In the second game, the Bruins scored single runs in the second and third innings before breaking loose with five in the fifth.  A double by Gantenbein, a bunt single by Aldrich, and a single by Hickok put a run on the board in the second, and Stahl scored in the third on two errors that put him on third before Gantenbein was caught in a rundown, allowing him to come home.

The Bruins pounded out six hits in the fifth, Jay Kirchhofer's two-run single igniting the inning.  Winterstein doubled in one run, Hunter singled in another, and Stahl capped the explosion with an RBI double.  They added two more in the eighth on an RBI single by Zac Israel and a bases-loaded walk to Winterstein, and Kirchhofer was walked with the bags loaded for a final run in the ninth.

Clay Gartner (2-2) went eight innings for the Bruins, spacing nine hits with five strikeouts and three walks.  The only runs he surrendered were solo home runs to Walton and Craig Driver in the fourth.  Andrew Snyder struck out the side in the ninth to finish up.  UPS starter Nathan Aguiar (1-3) took the loss.

Gantenbein, Hickok, Israel, and Kirchhofer had two hits apiece for the Bruins.  For the Loggers, no one had multiple hits, but every starter had one hit each.

NEXT: George Fox (19-8, NWC 10-7) and Puget Sound (12-12, NWC 10-4) will conclude their three-game series in Tacoma with a single game Sunday at 12:00 noon.