Apr 18, 2015

'Cats Take the Pair

A Winning Tradition

  • NCAA D-III National Champions (2004)
  • Eight NCAA D-III National Tournaments (2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)
  • One NCAA Regional Championship (West 2004)
  • 10 Northwest Conference Championships (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009)
  • 19 straight seasons .500 or better (1996-2014)
  • Eight Top 30 national rankings (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014)
  • 23 All-Americans
  • One National Pitcher of the Year (Scott Hyde - 2004)
  • One D3Baseball.com All-West Region Rookie of the Year (Matt Voelzke - 2017)
  • 10 Academic All-Americans
  • One NCAA National Coach of the Year
  • One NCAA Region Coach of the Year
  • 10 Northwest Conference Coaches of the Year
  • Five NAIA District Tournaments (1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994)
  • Three NAIA Disctrict Championships (1991, 1992, 1993)
  • Five NAIA Regional Tournaments (1991, 1992, 1993, 1997, 1998)
  • Two NAIA Distrcit Coach of the Years
  • 22 players signed to professional contracts
  • Three Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year Finalists (Derrick Jones - 2005, Scott Hyde - 2004, Eric Bell - 2003)
  • One Slats Gill Coach of the Year Award (Pat Bailey - 2004 finalist)
  • One George Fox Pasero Team of the Year (2004)

By: Ryan Lackey

NEWBERG, Ore. --- George Fox dropped two close gut-wrenching games Saturday, but redemption is right around the corner as the Bruins will host the 'Cats for a single game on Sunday.

Game 1

The Bruins dropped a firestorm of a game, the first of two against Linfield, on Saturday afternoon, 12-7. Both teams proved dangerous at the plate, but the Wildcats' six-run outburst in the fourth was a little too much for the Bruins to overcome.

Starter Sean Eberhardt kept the game pretty well in check; in the context of the game's conclusion, his three runs and five hits over three innings seem respectable. Reliever Tom Zarosinski took the loss and threw just a third of an inning.

Third baseman Mason Dunning had a perfect 3-3 day with an RBI. Riley McKean and Jake Thran both had two hits and drove in two runs, and McKean scored three times. Clay Mott batted 2-4 with an RBI.

The Bruins were at the controls through the game's opening innings. After AJ Valencia led off the first with a single, a base hit from McKean and a double from Thran gave the Bruins a quick 2-0 lead. George Fox doubled that lead in the third: with McKean and Thran on again, Ansel Webster's fielder's choice brought in one, and Clay Mott's single made the score 4-0.

Linfield erased that lead and more, though, in the fourth. After three straight singles and a run, Zarosinski replaced Eberhardt. Zarosinski, though, was no more effective, walking three consecutive batters to force in two more runs. Michael Hirko, in for Zarosinski, let in two more runs, and Linfield left the inning with a 6-4 lead.

The Wildcats added another in the fifth, but the Bruins bounced back, again catalyzed by McKean and Thran. After Zach Rapacz led off the fifth with his only hit of a day – a long double – McKean and Thran rapped back-to-back singles to close the gap to 7-6.

To the Bruins' chagrin, Linfield pushed across two runs in the seventh and eighth, and the Bruins' single run in their half of the eighth – Dunning's RBI single – was erased with Linfield's run in the ninth.

The 12-7 final puts the Bruins at 16-20, headed into Saturday's second game.

Game 2

Seven dogged innings from starter Taylor Dunn and four runs from the offense could not over the power surge of Linfield's Eric Lawson, as the Bruins dropped Saturday's second game, 5-4. Lawson went 2-3 with a double and a home run.

Dunn took the loss for the Bruins, in spite of a stoic performance that saw him fight through eight hits to give up five runs – four earned – over his seven innings. Blake Stassi threw two innings of good relief.

Jake Thran continued his good run of form, finishing 2-5 with a run and an RBI. Zach Rapacz also had a 2-5 game. Leadoff batter AJ Valencia went 1-2.

Unlike game one, it was Linfield that jumped ahead early. In the top of the first, two singles and a double from John Carroll made the score 2-0. The Bruins, true to form, battled back. In the second, two walks bracketing Brandon Wileman's single loaded the bases for Gabe Louthan, who expertly waited out a walk to force in the Bruins' first run.

George Fox took the lead in the third. Valencia and Rapacz ripped singles to put runners on the corners, and McKean's sacrifice fly tied the game. Thran's smashing double into the gap spurred the Bruins on to a 3-2 advantage.

But Linfield, it seemed, would not be denied. Two runs in the sixth, helped along by an error, and another in the seventh on Lawson's towering blast restored to the Wildcats a 5-3 lead. The Bruins tried to rally – Wileman singled in Thran in the seventh – but the lead held, and Linfield took the game, 5-4.

A disappointing day for the Bruins sees them leave at 16-21, 12-11 in conference. George Fox has a shot at redemption tomorrow at noon, with another game against Linfield.