George Fox Nips Willamette 5-4 in 11 Innings

Duff Hits for Three-Fourths of the Cycle for Bearcats

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Taylor Hunter of George Fox University hit a walk-off home run to left field to start the bottom of the 11th inning, sending the Bruins to a 5-4 victory over Willamette University on Sunday, March 20. The game was originally scheduled to be part of a doubleheader at Morse Field in Newberg, Ore., but wet grounds moved the action to WU's John Lewis Field.

The Bruins improved to 13-5 overall and to 4-4 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 8-8 on the season, 3-5 in the NWC.

George Fox won the first game in the series 2-0 on Saturday, March 19, in Newberg. The third game will be played at John Lewis Field on Monday, March 21, starting at 2 p.m. (PDT).

Hunter finished the game 3 for 5 with two runs and two RBIs. He also had a double earlier in the game.

Willamette tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the ninth, when Doug Bloom (Sr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) scored from second on a sacrifice bunt by T.C. Lee (Sr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) that resulted in a throwing error.

GFU catcher Eric Gantenbein attempted to throw out Lee at first base on the play. The ball hit Lee and went into foul territory in the outfield.

Galen Duff (So., 2B, Spokane, WA/Gonzaga Prep) went 3 for 5 for Willamette and collected three-fourths of the cycle. He hit a double in the first inning, a single in the third inning and a triple in the fifth inning.

Willamette outhit George Fox, 17-11, but the Bearcats made several running errors on the base paths and finished with 14 runners left on base. GFU stranded 12 runners during the game.

Both teams had two hits in each of the first two innings, but neither squad was able to score.

WU had a runner thrown out at the plate in each of the innings while trying to score from second on singles to GFU center fielder Nate Hickok. For GFU, Dan Winterstein was caught in a run-down between second and third in the first inning. Winterstein flied out to right field with the bases load and two outs in the second inning.

The game's first runs were tallied by the Bruins in the third. Hunter was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sam Stahl. Gantenbein drove in Hunter with a double. Gantenbein advanced to third on a single by Derek Aldrich and scored when Derek Blankenship hit into a fielder's choice.

T.C. Lee (Sr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) and Max Stepan (Sr., C/DH, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) walked to start the WU half of the sixth inning. Michael Oliver (Jr., DH/1B, Seattle, WA/West Seattle HS) followed with a bunt single toward shortstop to load the bases.

One out later, Tim Schilf (Jr., 3B, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) blasted a line drive into deep right center. Lee scored on the play, but Stepan waited to see if the ball was caught and only advanced to third. Oliver, who rounded second, had to retreat to the bag. Schilf was thrown out after rounding first base and heading toward second. A fly ball ended the threat.

In the bottom of the sixth, GFU added two runs for a 4-1 advantage. Zac Isreal singled down the left field line. Winterstein drove in Israel on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Hunter drove in the other run with a double.

Willamette fought back by scoring once in each of the final three innings of regulation. Bloom smacked a double to bring in Tyson Giza (So., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) with a run in the seventh.

During the eighth, Brandon Chinn (Fr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) hit an infield single with one out. Adam Reid (Jr., RF, San Jose, CA/Lynbrook HS) and Giza hit back-to-back singles with two outs to move Chinn around the bases. A balk put Reid at third and Giza at second, but GFU reliever Andrew Snyder ended the inning with a strikeout.

The top of the ninth began with Bloom hitting an infield single toward second base. Bloom reached second on a wild pick-off attempt. Lee followed with a sacrifice bunt only a short distance in front of the plate. Bloom headed toward third, and then scored when Gantenbein's throw hit Lee.

WU relief pitcher Kyle Kirwan (So., RHP, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) faced just three batters in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

The Bearcats pushed a runner into scoring position with one out in the top of the 10th, when Reid singled to left and Giza singled up the middle. With runners still at first and second and two outs, Bloom hit a fly ball that was caught by Stahl in foul territory.

Hickok walked for GFU with two outs in the bottom of the 10th, but was left on base. Lee hit a single to third base for Willamette in the top of the 11th, but was later thrown out at second on a stolen base attempt.

Hunter's leadoff home run in the bottom of the inning ended the game. It was Hunters' first home run of the season.

Other key hitters for the Bruins were Israel, Winterstein and Aldrich. Israel went 3 for 5 and scored once, Winterstein was 2 for 5 with an RBI and Aldrich finished 2 for 3.

Duff was one of three Willamette players with three hits in the game. Bloom was 3 for 5 with a run, an RBI and a walk. Reid also went 3 for 5. Giza was 2 for 5, scored a run and had one RBI. Schilf also went 2 for 5.

Both teams used four pitchers. Jacob Brown, 1-0, registered the win for George Fox. Kirwan, 0-1, took the loss for the Bearcats.

BOX SCORE

George Fox University 5
Willamette University 4
11 innings

Galen Duff of WU hit for three-fourths of the cycle with a single, double and triple.

Galen Duff of WU hit for three-fourths of the cycle with a single, double and triple.