By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
NEWBERG, Ore. -- George Fox University built a 7-0 lead in the opener, and scored four runs in the seventh inning of the second game, as the Bruins won both contests in a doubleheader versus Willamette University, 8-4 and 8-2, on Saturday, March 25 at the Morse Athletic Field. GFU advanced its record to 9-13 on the season, 8-9 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 16-10 overall and to 9-5 in the NWC.
In the first game, Mason Fessler (Jr., INF, Woodburn, OR/Blanchet Catholic School) was 3 for 3 with a walk and two RBIs for the Bearcats. Troy Conway (Jr., 2B, Moorpark, CA/Moorpark HS) of Willamette blasted a solo home run in the third inning of the second game, while Fessler went 2 of 4 to finish 5 of 7 on the afternoon.
The teams will complete their NWC series with one game on Sunday, March 25 in Newberg, Oregon, starting at 12 p.m. (PDT).
Bruins Score Four Runs in 5th Inning of Opener
George Fox built a 3-0 lead with one run in the second inning and two runs in the third, before plating four runs in the bottom of the fifth for a 7-0 advantage.
In the second, Matthew Ramirez reached base on a throwing error with two outs. He scored on a double to right center by Brandon Wileman.
There were two outs in the third inning when Kyle Esquerra and Andrew Reichenbach reached base with back-to-back singles. A throwing error following the single by Reichenback, put runners at second and third. Both scored on a single by Sam Swenson.
All four runs in the fifth inning were scored on home runs. Zachery Muenster opend the frame with a solo shot over the left field fence. Later, Reichenbach smacked a three-run homer to right field.
Willamette cut the lead to 7-2 with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Conway singled and Connor Bailey (So., LF, San Diego, CA/Scripps Ranch HS) walked. Fessler drove in Conway with a single. Eric Del Prado (Jr., INF, El Segundo, CA/Loyola HS) also singled to bring home Bailey.
The Bruins tacked on a run in the bottom of the sixth, and then WU scored twice in the eighth. Kyle Paguio (So., 3B, Stevenson Ranch, CA/West Ranch HS) earned a leadoff walk, Conway was hit by a pitch, and Bailey singled through the right side.
Paguio scored when Fessler was walked with the bases loaded. Conway tallied the second run by scoring when Del Prado hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Cole Pursell (So., C, Oceanside, CA/El Camino HS) flied out to right field to end the inning.
GFU starting pitcher Dustin Wells went seven innings and allowed just five hits and two runs. He registered five strikeouts. Wells, now 3-4, placed 66 of his 96 pitches in the strike zone and consistently recorded a strike on the first pitch to each batter. WU starter Matt Steindorf (So., RHP, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS) pitched five innings and allowed seven runs, but only four runs were earned. He fell to 5-2.
George Fox Scores Four Runs in 7th Inning of Game 2
Willamette claimed a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the second game. With two outs, Del Prado singled and went to second on a balk. He scored on a single to centr by Fessler.
George Fox surged in front with three runs in the second inning. Two runs scored on a double by Gavin Speegle. The third run crossed the plate on a single by AJ Valencia.
The bottom of the second also featured a tremendous catch by WU center fielder Perry Van Eckhardt (Jr., El Cerrito, CA/El Cerrito HS). After Reichenbach singled to start the inning, Van Eckhardt caught Swenson's well-driven ball against the fence.
WU cut GFU's lead to 3-2 with a solo home run by Conway in the third inning. Conway sent a line drive over the right field fence.
Wileman hit his second homer of the day for the Bruins in the sixth inning to give GFU a two-run cushion. The Bruins then scored four runs in the seventh. The first run reached home on a single by Reichenbach. Swenson completed the rally with a three-run homer.
Fessler and Del Prado each went 2 of 4 for Willamette. Del Prado scored one run and Fessler earned one RBI. Wileman was 3 of 4 for GFU with two runs and an RBI. Reichenbach went 2 of 3 with two rusn and an RBI, while Valencia was 2 for 4 with one RBI.
Middle reliever Liam Kent earned the win for the Bruins. He allowed no runs, two walks and just one hit in 3 1/3 innings. Kent is 1-1 on the season. WU starter Benjamin Whitten (Fr., RHP, Danville, CA/San Ramon Valley HS) fell to 3-1.