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GEORGE FOX 8-2, PAC LUTHERAN 6-8: Bruins Win Opener in 11, Drop Nightcap to Lutes
PARKLAND, Wash. – Danny Clifford slugged a go-ahead home run in the 11th inning to give the George Fox University Bruins an 8-6 first-game win, but the Pacific Lutheran University Lutes took the second 8-2 behind Trevor Lubking’s 13 strikeouts for a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader split Saturday afternoon here at the PLU Baseball Field.
Game 1 - George Fox 8, at Pacific Lutheran 6 (11 innings)
Clifford’s sixth home run of the year leading off the top of the 11th and an RBI single by Zach Miller after a two-out double by Derek Dixon gave the Bruins the win in the opener after they had squandered a 6-2 lead with ace right-hander Brian Ranta on the mound. Ranta went 7.1 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs, two earned, with 10 strikeouts and five walks.
PLU got a run off Ranta in the 1st when Dominick Coury and Corey Moore singled, Brock Gates was intentionally walked after a sacrifice, and Curtis Wildung grounded a single through the left side. The Bruins got that run back in the 2nd on a double by Derek Blankenship, a single by Timothy Williams, and a run-scoring infield single by Jared Chase.
The Bruins went ahead with three in the 3rd. Williams led off with a walk and Dixon doubled down the left-field line to score him. Dixon advanced to third on a wild pitch, and after starting pitcher Collin Nilson was lifted in favor of Ryan Frost, Chase laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to make it 3-1. Todd Nagamine hit a single, Taylor Hunter was hit by a pitch, and Josh Rapacz flared a single to right to drive in Nagamine.
The Lutes scored in the 5th when Moore hit a double and scored on a single by Gates, but the Bruins used the bunting game to get two runs on two hits and a PLU error to take a 6-2 advantage in the 8th. A throwing error on a sacrifice bunt accounted for an unearned run, and the second came in on Chase's second squeeze bunt.
That set up a big PLU rally in the bottom of the 8th against relievers Clay Gartner and Alex Keenan, sparked by consecutive one-out fielding errors that opened the door. Moore hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the first run, and Courcy scored on a wild pitch for the second. Jaron Iwakami singled and Gates walked to bring Wildung to the plate, and he drilled a double into right to score both runners and tie the game.
The Lutes had a great chance to win it in the bottom of the 9th after Sammy Davis led off with a double, but after reaching third on a sacrifice bunt, he was thrown out trying to score on a wild pitch. Both teams wasted scoring chances in the 10th before Clifford and Miller came up with the big hits for the Bruins, pinning the loss on Jacob Otness (3-2).
The Lutes put two runners on base in the bottom of the 11th, but consecutive fly outs ended the game and gave Taylor Hill (3-3), the Bruins' fourth pitcher, the win after two innings of one-hit shutout relief.
Both teams had 12 hits and stranded plenty of runners, the Lutes leaving 17 and the Bruins 14. Dixon had three hits and Williams two for George Fox. Wildung was 3-for-3 with three RBI and three walks for PLU, while Courcy, Moore, Iwakami and Gates all had a pair of hits.
Game 2 - Pacific Lutheran 8, George Fox 2
Lubking (3-3), a freshman southpaw, was dominating, striking out 13 with two walks in 7.1 innings in the second game. He fanned the side in the 1st and 4th innings, retired nine straight at one stretch, and did not give up a hit until Blankenship hit a two-run homer, his first, down the left-field line with one out in the 6th after Williams was hit with a pitch. The only other hit he allowed was Dixon's infield roller with two out in the 6th.
PLU struck in the 3rd to pin the loss on Bruin starter Taylor Dunn (3-2). Moore led off with a single and, after Iwakami reached on a force out, Gates crushed his seventh homer over the fence in left-center. Moore also led off the 5th, this time with a double, and scored on a single by Gates. After a two-out walk to Frost, Nilson doubled inside the bag at third to drive in two runs and make it 5-0 Lutes.
The Lutes added three more runs on two hits and a George Fox error in the 8th. Nicholas Hall reached on an error, Jacob Olsufka was hit by a pitch, and Courcy drew a walk to load the bases. Moore followed with a run-scoring single to right, and Iwakami got a two-run base hit to center.
Nathan Eisenhauer, who relieved Lubking in the eighth, earned his second save by giving up no hits while walking one and striking out one in the final 1.2 innings.
Moore had three of PLU's nine hits, while Gates and Wildung had two hits each. Gates drove in three runs.
NEXT: The Bruins (16-17, NWC 12-8) and Lutes (19-11, NWC 11-6) will conclude their three-game series with a single game Sunday at 12:00 noon.