George Fox Wins Two Games versus Willamette, 14-6 and 5-4

Summers Belts Two-Run Homer for Bearcats in Second Game

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

SALEM, ORE. -- George Fox University earned 18 hits in a 14-6 victory in the opener and held off a rally by Willamette University to win 5-4 in the second game, as the Bruins swept a doubleheader from the Bearcats on Saturday, March 17 at John Lewis Field.

GFU tallied five unearned runs in the second inning of the first game to take an early lead. In the nightcap, the Bruins led 4-1 after four-and-a-half innings, but had to fend off Willamette, which pulled within 4-3 in the next half inning and later cut a 5-3 deficit to 5-4.

The Bruins improved to 9-11 on the season, 5-3 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 4-14 overall, 2-6 in the NWC.

Two Willamette errors at the start of the second inning proved costly in the opener.

Derek Dixon batted first and hit a grounder to third that Tosh Semlacher (So., Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) misplayed. Timothy Williams followed with a bunt that was fielded by pitcher Brandon Simon (Jr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills HS), but Simon's throw to Tommy Kawamura (So., Renton, WA/Lindbergh HS) was high, allowing Dixon to reach second.

Nick Benish drove in Dixon with an RBIs single for the first of five unearned runs in the inning. One out later, Jared Chase drove in Williams on a sacrifice bunt. David Greenstein, Taylor Hunter and Josh Rapacz added RBI singles to complete the outburst.

Willamette earned one run in the third inning when Dylan Summers (Sr., C, Lake Oswego, OR/Lakeridge HS) and Tyson Giza (Jr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) both singled. Summers scored later in the stanza on a groundout by Mitch Rowan (Jr., LF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS).

An RBI single by Hunter increased the GFU lead to 6-1 in the top of the fourth. In the bottom of the inning, Semlacher singled for Willamette, stole second base and scored on a single by Hunter Gallant (Fr., 2B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS).

The Bruins tallied two runs in the sixth on a sacrifice flies by Rapacz and Danny Clifford. Benish belted a solo homer in the seventh to give George Fox a 9-2 advantage.

Both teams added to their scores in the final two frames. GFU tacked on four runs in the eighth and one in the ninth. WU scored twice in each inning.

In the Willamette half of the eighth, Gallant contributed an RBI single and Michael Oliver (Sr., 1B, Seattle, WA/West Seattle High School) drove in a run while reaching base on an error. In the ninth, both of Willamette's runs crossed the plate on a home run to left field by Andrew Wilson (Fr., OF, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS).

For GFU, starting pitcher Brian Ranta threw seven innings and improved to 2-1. Greenstein and Hunter each went 3 for 4 and scored twice for the Bruins. Hunter also recorded two RBIs, while Greenstein drove in one run. Benish finished 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs.

Semlacher was 3 for 4 at the plate for the Bearcats in the opener. He scored two runs. Gallant went 2 for 4 with two RBIs.

George Fox built a 3-0 lead in the first three innings of the second game. Greenstein singled in the first inning and eventually scored on a single by Clifford. In the third, Rapacz hit a two-out single and Clifford followed with a two-run homer to left field.

Giza doubled to right field for the Bearcats to start the bottom of the third. He advanced to third on a groundout by Summers and scored on a grounder by Kawamura.

The Bruins upped their advantage to 4-1 when Rapacz drove in Greenstein with an RBI single in the fifth.

In the bottom of the fifth, Giza reached first base with two outs when a fly ball veered into fair territory and was dropped by Clifford at third base. Giza stole second and then Summers launched a homer to right center, pulling the Bearcats within 4-3.

Neither team scored during the next two innings, but George Fox added an important insurance run in the top of the eighth. With two outs, Cilfford singled to left and went to second on a wild pitch. Dixon also singled, allowing Clifford to score from second. Benish flied out to center field to end the threat.

Rolenn Himuro (Fr., LF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) of WU doubled down the left field line with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Himuro was still at second one out later, but he scored on a double by Sky Kelley (Jr., RF, Portland, OR/Jesuit HS), as the Bearcats cut the lead to 5-4. Semlacher grounded out to end the inning.

GFU relief pitcher Alex Keenan faced just three batters in the ninth inning to earn a save for the Bruins. Starter Taylor Dunn improved to 3-1 with the win. WU starter T.J. Whidby went 6 2/3 innings with four strikeouts and no walks, but fell to 0-2 on the season.

Clifford provided the Bruins with a 3-for-4 performance, while hitting a home run, scoring twice and driving in three runs. Greenstein was 2 for 4 and scored twice. Williams went 2 for 4 with a double.

WU had just four hits during the game, but all four went for extra bases. The homer by Summers led the way. Himuro, Kelly and Giza each hit a double.

Willamette and George Fox will conclude the three-game series with a single 9-inning game on Sunday (March 18) starting at 1 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORES

George Fox University 14
Willamette University 6
Statistics

George Fox University 5
Willamette University 4
Statistics

Sky Kelley singled and walked three times in the first game. He hit a double in the second game.

Sky Kelley singled and walked three times in the first game. He hit a double in the second game.