Cox's grand slam helps WU split with George Fox

SALEM — Willamette and George Fox split its make-up doubleheader on Monday at John Lewis Field, with the Bearcats winning the first game 9-7 and the Bruins taking the nightcap 6-2.

The split put George Fox at 8-5 overall and 1-2 in the Northwest Conference, while Willamette moved to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in NWC action.

Willamette won the first game in dramatic fashion, scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Bearcat first baseman John Cox, a sophomore, hit a walk-off grand-slam home run to right center.

In the second game, GFU starter Mike Beck limited Willamette to two hits and two walks over eight innings to lead the Bruins. He struck out six Bearcat batters to win his third game of the year against no losses.

George Fox appeared to be headed for victory in the opener as the Bruins scored three runs in the seventh inning and one more in the eighth to take a 7-4 lead. But then the Bearcats rallied.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Bartels reached first on an infield error and Dane Woldseth came on to run for him. Matt Drahn walked, and Adam Holden replaced Drahn as a pinch runner. Travis Shull then walked to load the bases. Mike Allen singled through the right side of the infield, scoring Woldseth, to make it 7-5. Cox then homered high over the 350-foot sign in right center.

Cox also had two doubles in the game, and Allen and Ken Halpin each added three hits for the winners. GFU’s Stephen Donohue went 4 for 5 with two runs scored.

In the second game, the Bruins scored single runs in the second and third innings, then tallied three more in the fourth frame to take a 5-0 lead. Joshua Sargent and Derrick Jones each went 2 for 4 at the plate for GFU.

Willamette starter Zach Vande Griend (1-3) went the distance on the mound, allowing seven hits and a walk while striking out seven Bruin hitters. Three of the six runs he gave up were unearned.

The Bearcats have the next three days off before playing in the three-day Jiffy Lube Tournament in Lewiston, Idaho.