NEWBERG, Ore. – Back-to-back-to-back home runs in the 1st inning of game one set the tone for the George Fox University offense in its Northwest Conference baseball twinbill with Lewis & Clark College Sunday afternoon here at Morse Field, as the Bruins went on to down the Pioneers 15-6 and 12-1 to complete a four-game series sweep.
A.J. Brown’s two-run double in the top of the 1st in the opener gave the Pios an early lead, but the Bruins quickly erased it with a power-packed punch against L&C starter Colin Dietz (0-2). Kyle Kuenzi singled before Matt Wyckoff lofted one high into a stiff wind blowing out to right for his second round-tripper of the season, tying the score. Bo Thunell followed moments later with a blast to left, his second, and Pat Bailey added his fifth of the season before Dietz had even recorded an out.
The Bruins added five more in the 2nd as Bailey was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in Cody Curtin, Winterstein’s sacrifice fly scored Kuenzi, and Seth Anderson lined a two-run triple to right-center to plate Thunell and Bailey. When the relay throw to third bounced out of play, Anderson came on in. Four more Bruins crossed the plate in the 4th, and Jason Brown slugged a two-run homer, his first, onto the roof of the batting shed in center field in the 5th.
Dietz was touched for 12 hits and 13 runs, 10 earned, in only 3.2 innings. Bruin righthander Brian Davis (1-1) pitched four shutout innings after the 1st. He issued five free passes, but only allowed three hits and fanned three. Kyle Johnson gave up an RBI single to the Pios’ Michael Ball in the 6th and Laurence Tucker touched Adam Weber for a three-run homer, his second, in the 7th for the Pios’ final runs, but all three were unearned due to Weber’s own throwing error which kept the inning alive.
Kuenzi was 3-4 in the Bruins’ 13-hit attack, while Thunell and Curtin had two hits apiece. Tucker had a double and home run in two trips to the plate for the Pios.
The Bruins opened up the scoring in the second game with four in the 1st, again featuring back-to-back home runs. Wyckoff singled and Thunell doubled with one out, setting up Bailey’s sixth circuit smash down the left-field line, and Winterstein lined his second of the season over the fence in straightaway center.
After the Pioneers got a run in the 3rd on a double by Ryan Kostecka and an RBI single by Sami Morgan, the Bruins exploded for eight in the bottom of the inning. Bailey singled in the first run, then Anderson and Eric Gantenbein each hit two-run doubles. Curtin doubled in a run, Wyckoff singled in one, and Kuenzi scored on a wild pitch to end all the scoring in the game.
Travis Schroeder (2-1) went five good innings for the Bruins, spacing six hits with one run allowed, striking out one and walking none. Evan Fairmont (0-3) suffered the setback as he was raked for 11 hits and 12 earned runs in 2.1 innings with three walks and no strikeouts.
Wyckoff, Thunell, Bailey, and Curtin had two hits apiece as the Bruins totaled 14 hits, with Bailey driving in four. Morgan and Jordan Wlodarczyk had two hits each for the Pios.
The second game was called with two on and none out in the top of the 7th when a sudden hailstorm inundated the field before the home team could get its tarp on the field.
George Fox (11-3, NWC 8-0) will take its nine-game winning streak and first-place lead in the conference to Willamette University next weekend, playing doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 noon both days. Lewis & Clark (1-11, NWC 1-7) steps outside the conference Wednesday for a 2:00 p.m. single at Western Oregon University.