Willamette and George Fox Split Doubleheader

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University and George Fox University split a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader at John Lewis Field on Saturday, March 20. Willamette won the first game, 7-2, while the Bruins were victorious in the second game, 7-6.

WU ended the day at 6-10 overall, 3-5 in the NWC. George Fox moved to 11-9 overall, 4-4 in the NWC. The Bearcats and the Bruins will play the final game of the series on Sunday, March 21 at John Lewis Field, starting at 12 p.m (PDT).

In the first game, Willamette starting pitcher Devin Grindy (Jr., RHP, Washougal, WA/Camas HS) went 7 2/3 innings to record the win. He allowed just six hits and limited the Bruins to two runs (one earned). Grindy improved to 2-2 on the season.

Willamette rallied from a 6-1 deficit with five runs in the eighth inning of the second game, but Perry Knudson hit a home run for George Fox to leadoff the top of the ninth inning. The Bruins held on for a one-run win.

Grindy provided the Bearcats with quality pitching in the opener. He gave up a solo home run to first baseman Seth Anderson in the second inning, but allowed GFU only five other hits -- all singles. Grindy earned two strikeouts and gave up just one walk.

The steady effort on the mound was rewarded with a solid offensive effort by the Bearcats. Willamette finished with nine hits and took advantage of six George Fox errors.

Willamette tallied two runs in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 lead and added two more in the sixth inning.

Derek Collins (Fr., 1B, Yorba Linda, CA/Esperanza HS/Fullerton College) singled and Max Stepan (Jr., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) doubled to start the fourth. T.C. Lee (Jr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) drove in Collins with a ground out to second base. Stepan scored when Tim Schilf (So., 3B, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) reached first on an error.

In the sixth, Lee singled and later stole second with two outs. Tyson Giza (Fr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) hit into an error by the second baseman, allowing Lee to score. Galen Duff (Fr., 2B, Spokane, WA/Gonzaga Prep) followed with a short grounder that was thrown wildly by catcher Brent Trask. Giza scored on the play.

Trask singled and eventually scored an unearned run for the Bruins in the top of the seventh to cut the WU lead to 4-2. Collins smashed a home run to right center in the bottom of the inning to return the Bearcats to a three-run advantage.

WU added two runs on two hits and two errors in the bottom of the eighth. Sky Kelley (Fr., RF, Canby, OR/Jesuit HS) doubled to open the inning and Giza hit a bunt single back to the mound. Relief pitcher Adam Weber threw wide of first base, enabling Kelley to score and Giza to continue to second and third, as the ball went into the right field corner. A wild throw to third base on the relay allowed Giza to score.

Brandon Simon (Fr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills HS) earned a save for Willamette. He pitched 1 1/3 innings with no hits and one strikeout. He faced just three batters in the ninth inning.

Collins (2 for 3), Lee (2 for 4) and Kelley (2 for 4) led WU in the opener. Collins and Giza scored two runs apiece. Anderson and Trask each finished the game with two hits for the Bruins.

GFU starter Mark Putney of GFU fell to 2-3 with the loss. He went seven innings and struck out five batters, but gave up seven hits and five runs. Only three runs were earned.

Michael Wood of George Fox gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead in the second game with a two-run single in the first inning. WU stranded three runners in the bottom of the inning, as GFU overcame two errors and a walk.

The Bearcats plated a run in the bottom of the second. Giza doubled to center field and Duff hit an RBI single. Willamette left Duff at third when the inning ended and also stranded a runner at third in the next two innings.

George Fox tallied two runs on two hits and two errors in the fifth. The Bruins also scored twice in the top of the eighth inning on a single by right fielder Dan Winterstein.

Willamette put together a big inning in the bottom of the eighth. Collins singled and Lee blasted a homer to right center to start the rally. Later, Duff provided two RBIs with a double down the left field line. Doug Bloom (Jr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) brought home Duff with a single.

Knudsen's home run broke the 6-6 tie. The Bruins added two singles in the inning, but couldn't extend the lead.

In the bottom of the ninth, Anderson snagged a hard grounder by Collins near first base to prevent a hit. Knudsen followed by corralling a line drive in left field that was hit by Lee. Reliever Chad Jones, who moved to 2-2 with the win, ended the game on a strikeout.

GFU produced 11 hits and Willamette had 10 in the nightcap. Woo was 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a run scored for the Bruins. Giza, Duff and Dylan Summers (So., C, Lake Oswego, OR/Lakeridge HS) each went 2 of 4 at the plate for Willamette.

Willamette University 7
George Fox University 2
George Fox University 7
Willamette University 6
Devin Grindy earned the win in the opener. He allowed just six hits and two runs (one earned) in 7 2/3 innings on the mound.

Devin Grindy earned the win in the opener. He allowed just six hits and two runs (one earned) in 7 2/3 innings on the mound.

T.C. Lee was 3 for 8 during the doubleheader with two runs and three RBIs.

T.C. Lee was 3 for 8 during the doubleheader with two runs and three RBIs.