Apr 25, 2015

Bruins Fall to 'Cats in NWC Tournament

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

PARKLAND, Wash. --- The Bruins saw their season conclude on Saturday, running into a strong Linfield team that handed them a 3-0 loss, the Bruins' second of the double-elimination NWC tournament.

After a long season predicated on their ability to push beyond adversity and long odds, the Bruins just didn't quite have enough to rattle Wildcats starter Aaron Thomassen, who limited them to four base hits. On the other end, Bruin starter Taylor Dunn also pitched a quality game; on any other day, his five-hit, and three-run near-complete-game would have likely delivered a win. Senior Tom Zarosinski threw the last third of an inning, a nice cap to a formidable Bruin's career.

Linfield got their first run on a passed ball in the second; the game held fast at 1-0 until the ninth, when an exhausted Dunn let the Wildcats squabble across two more runs.

The Bruins got their first man in scoring position in the eighth, when Mason Dunning caught hold of a delivery from Thomassen and slung it into the left-center gap for a two-out double. Clay Mott's strikeout, unfortunately, ended the inning.

Even with the loss, the Bruins have ample reason for satisfaction. In spite of an overhauled lineup and significant personnel difficulties, the Bruins had a very respectable 13-11 record in conference and sealed their entry into the tournament with a rollicking 14-2 win over rivals Linfield. Individually, senior Zach Rapacz leaves having compiled a .353 average with five homers and 29 RBIs. Among the younger generation, freshman leadoff batter AJ Valencia hit .333 as a rookie and stole 12 bases. Sophomore Andrew Reichenbach, typically hitting cleanup, rapped out a .314 average and knocked in 23 runs.

Senior starter Ian Buckles finished with a 3.20 ERA, and reliever Michael Hirko put together a 5-2 record and an ERA of 2.01.

The Bruins are right to be encouraged and excited. Though this season was truncated, they remain in a good position for next season.