NEWBERG, Ore. – Clay Gartner picked up his NCAA Division III-leading 10th win of the season with eight solid innings and the George Fox University offense backed him with six early runs as the Bruins took a 7-2 victory from the visiting Corban University Warriors in a non-conference baseball game Thursday afternoon here at Morse Field.
Gartner (10-1) scattered nine hits over his eight innings of work, allowing a pair of runs while striking out three and walking one. He cruised through the first four innings on only 32 pitches, getting a most unusual out in the 4th when his first pitch to Marc Gallegos sailed behind the Corban hitter but the ball struck the bat and rolled into fair territory up the first-base line, where catcher Josh Rapacz picked it up and tagged out the bewildered batter.
The Bruins got a run in the first against Eli Driessen (2-3), the first of seven Corban pitchers in the game. Matthew Zeller led off with a single to left, went to third on a Rapacz double to right-center, and scored on Derek Dixon's grounder to third which was booted for an error.
A five-run 5th against relievers Micah Ropp and Daniel Gober gave Gartner plenty of breathing room. Zeller again led off with an infield single and scored on Danny Clifford's double to right-center. Dixon was hit by a pitch with one out, and Zach Rapacz delivered both runners with a double to the wall in right-center. Zac Israel singled to right and Clay Mott bunted for a hit to score Rapacz. Following a wild pitch, Zach Hegelmeyer drove in Israel with a sacrifice fly to right.
The Bruins got their final tally in the 6th. Zeller was hit by a pitch, Clifford reached on an error at third, and Josh Rapacz walked to load the bases before Dixon hit into a 3-6 force out at second as Zeller scored.
The Warriors bunched together three hits to score a run in both the 5th and 6th innings. Landon Frost singled in Ben Straka in the 5th and Vince Gonzalez doubled home Ryan Rosas in the 6th, but Gartner was able to escape further damage each time. Taylor Dunn took over in the 9th and got the first two outs, including Gregg Romero on a sensational bare-handed snag of a foul pop near the third-base bullpen by Mott that resembled Kevin Mitchell's spectacular bare-handed grab of a foul fly by Ozzie Smith in a Giants-Cardinals game in 1989. Dunn then walked Daniel Orr and gave up a single to Gallegos before Sean Eberhardt came in to retire Davis Alderman on a grounder to first, earning his third save of the season.
George Fox improved to 26-10, equaling last year's total for wins in a 26-12 campaign, while Corban slipped to 27-23. The two teams will engage in a twinbill Saturday starting at 1:00 p.m. in Salem, Ore.