NEWBERG, Ore. – Zach Rapacz slugged a two-run home run to spark a 14-hit George Fox University assault that backed the four-hit pitching of ace Clay Gartner as the Bruins opened a three-game Northwest Conference baseball series against the visiting University of Puget Sound Loggers with a 9-0 win Saturday afternoon here at Morse Field.
The teams had a doubleheader scheduled, but rain began to fall less than a minute after the conclusion of the first game and was expected to be steady the rest of the day, so the second game was postponed. The teams will try to complete the series with a twinbill here Sunday, starting at 12:00 noon.
Derek Dixon opened the George Fox 2nd inning with a looping single into center field before Rapacz blasted his second round tripper of the season over the 385-sign in dead center off Steve Wagar (1-3), giving the Bruins a 2-0 lead. The Bruins followed with four more consecutive hits as Zac Israel doubled, Clay Mott singled and went to second on an error in right as Israel scored, and Kadyn Nannini and Matthew Zeller bunted for hits, Mott scoring on Zeller's safety.
The Bruins knocked Wagar out with three more in the 3rd. A single by Rapacz and walks to Israel and Mott loaded the bases and brought on reliever Jarrod Beiser, who got one out before Zeller cleared the sacks with a double into the left-field corner. The Bruins added single runs in the 6th when Dixon singled in Derek Blankenship and in the 7th when Mott came home while Zeller was trapped in a rundown on an attempted steal of second.
Mott went 3-for-3 with three runs scored, while Dixon, Rapacz, and Zeller had two hits apiece. Rapacz drove in two and scored two, and Zeller had four RBIs. Connor Savage went 3-for-3 for the Loggers.
Gartner (8-1) threw his third complete game and second shutout of the season, striking out seven with two walks. He got into trouble in the 8th when a one-out walk and two errors loaded the bases, but he preserved the whitewash job by striking out the next two hitters. He lowered his season ERA to 1.98.
George Fox, ranked 19th in the latest Collegiate Baseball / ABCA poll and 23rd in the D3baseball.com poll, improved to 21-6 on the season and 11-5 in the conference, vaulting into a virtual tie for second in the league with idle Willamette University (17-10, NWC 10-4). League-leading and No. 1-in-the-nation Linfield College (23-3, NWC 16-1) swept Pacific Lutheran University (16-11, NWC 8-5) 3-0 and 7-1, dropping PLU from second to fourth.