Mar 15, 2015

Walk-Off Stage Middle

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)
  • Nine Top 30 national rankings (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2014, 2018)
  • 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. --- As baseball-related cliches go, few are as storied or as worn-out as Yogi Berra's stalwart phrase, "It ain't over 'till it's over."

The Bruins, however, proved the sagacious Berra correct on Sunday afternoon against Whitman, overcoming a 5-0 deficit by scoring six runs in the bottom of the ninth, the last four coming on Zach Rapacz's walk-off grand slam that gave the Bruins one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the program.

Whitman entered the game as underdogs, their record just 2-10 on the season, but outplayed the Bruins through the first few innings. In the first, the Missionaries took a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Paul Heywood and an RBI groundout from Peter Carmichael. They doubled that lead in the second on Adrian Vela's slashed single to right that brought in a pair of runs.

The game's middle was quieter, although Whitman added another run in the sixth when Braden Hussey's single brought in Joseph Zimmer.

In the ninth, though, the Bruins finally came alive after heretofore managing just three hits against Whitman starter Robert Maislin. Andrew Reichenbach led off the ninth with a long double, and after pinch-hitter Zachery Muenster flied out, AJ Valencia's single put runners on the corners. Riley McKean, pinch-hitting for Kadyn Nannini, slapped a single to left to score Reichenbach.

Now trailing 5-1, Whitman still possessed plenty of breathing room. But the next batter, Brandon Wileman, wore a pitch to load the bases, and Jacob Woehler smacked a single to bring the winning run to the plate, in the form of the Bruins' three-hitter, Zach Rapacz.

Eli Skiles came in to pinch-run for Woehler, but the switch proved unnecessary. Maislin went right after Rapacz, who with one mighty cut launched Maislin's delivery far into the cloudy Sunday afternoon, his walk-off grand-slam giving the Bruins an amazingly improbable 6-5 victory.

The homer was Rapacz's third of the year, and undoubtedly his most important to date.

Reliever Michael Hirko, who allowed just a single hit in his two innings of relief, earned his third victory of the season. Besides Rapacz's and his heroics, Woehler had a quality offensive day, finishing 2-4 with an RBI. To manager Marty Hunter's credit, three of the Bruins' pinch-hitters in the ninth – Wileman, McKean, and Valencia, scored runs.

The victory evens the Bruins' record at 9-9, and they have a chance to build on their wealth of momentum tomorrow afternoon, when they face Whitman again.