Willamette's Rally Falls Short as George Fox Wins, 11-10

Bloom Homers; Lee and Chinn Each Earn Three Hits

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University trailed by four runs entering the ninth inning before a solid effort cut the lead to a single run, but George Fox University held on for an 11-10 win over the Bearcats at John Lewis Field on Monday, March 21.

George Fox improved to 14-5 on the season, 5-4 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 8-9 overall, 3-6 in the NWC. The game was originally scheduled for this past weekend at GFU, so the Bruins were the home team on the scoreboard although the game was played on WU's home field.

After WU tallied three runs in the ninth, the Bearcats had runners at first and third with one out. An unsuccessful squeeze bunt resulted in the second out being recorded at home plate. Tyson Giza (So., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) flied out to left field near the foul line to end the game.

Key hits for George Fox were a grand slam by Sam Stahl in the fourth inning and a two-run homer by Nate Hickok in the eighth inning.

In the top of the first, Willamette plated four runs, including a two-run homer by Doug Bloom (Sr., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS). Giza walked to start the game and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Galen Duff (So., 2B, Spokane, WA/Gonzaga Prep). Bloom followed with his first home run of the season, a blast to right field.

T.C. Lee (Sr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) continued the attack with a double to right center. Max Stepan (Sr., C/DH, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) reached base on a fielding error at second, which also allowed Lee to score.

The Bruins produced three runs in the bottom of the first inning, but WU tacked on three runs of its own in the top of the second for a 7-3 advantage.

Back-to-back doubles by Dan Winterstein and Taylor Hunter created GFU's first run. Hunter scored when Stahl's single was misplayed in right field. Stahl crossed the plate later in the inning on a ground out by Derek Blankenship.

WU began the top of the second with singles by Brandon Chinn (Fr., 1B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS), Giza and Duff. The single up the middle by Duff drove in Chinn, while moving Giza to third. Bloom brought home the next run with a sacrifice fly to the fence in right field. Stepan also drove in a run with a single.

George Fox moved in front 9-7 after scoring six runs, five unearned, in the bottom of the fourth. There were two errors by Willamette during the inning. Four of the runs scored on the grand slam by Stahl.

Hickok added his two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, giving the Bruins an 11-7 lead.

With one out in the ninth, Willamette started it's rally.

Lee singled through the left side of the infield and Stepan walked. Tim Schilf (Jr., 2B, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) singled to drive in Lee. Adam Reid (Jr., RF, San Jose, CA/Lynbrook HS) load the bases with a single and Kyle Kirwan (So., 1B/P, Hillsboro, OR/Glencoe HS) smacked a two-RBI base hit.

On the next play, Reid was thrown out at home on a squeeze bunt by Chinn. Winterstein, who moved from right field to pitcher following Kirwin's single, grabbed the bunt and threw home. Giza faced a full count before flying out, as Winterstein registered his second save of the year.

GFU relief pitcher Joey Clancy, now 1-0, pitched 6 1/3 innings from the third through the first three batters in the ninth. He kept WU off the scoreboard for six consecutive innings and threw 110 pitches.

Willamette's starting pitcher, Chris Torgerson (Sr., RHP, Sacramento, CA/Jesuit HS), took the loss and fell to 3-1 on the season.

Stahl led GFU by going 4 for 4 at the plate with two runs and four RBIs. Hickok and Winterstein each finished 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Winterstein also earned two RBIs, while Hickok had one RBI. Zac Isreal scored twice for the Bruins.

Lee and Chinn both went 3 for 5 for Willamette. Lee hit a double and scored twice. Chinn produced singles in each of his first three at bats and also scored one run.

Bloom went 1 for 3 with three RBIs for the Bearcats. Reid was 2 for 5 with an RBI. Duff ended the game 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI, while Stepan was 1 for 4 with two runs and an RBI.

BOX SCORE
George Fox University 11
Willamette University 10
Doug Bloom hit a two-run homer in the first inning and earned three RBIs overall.

Doug Bloom hit a two-run homer in the first inning and earned three RBIs overall.