Feb 08, 2020

Bruins’ Hot Start Continues In Texas

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 Jacob Hayes

Grand Prairie, Tex. - In epic comeback fashion, the George Fox Bruins topped the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs 4-3. The Bruins scored three runs in the ninth to take the game on a walk-off walk.
Neither team got the bats rolling until Texas Lutheran started their fourth inning with a lead-off double to the left-center gap. Christopher Stone, starting pitcher for the Bruins, held his composure and got the next batter to fly out to shallow right field, forcing the runner to stay at second. The next grounded into a fielders choice, advancing the runner to third, but with two outs, the fly out to center was not enough to score the run, keeping the game tied at 0-0.

Bruin's Leon Johnson III got a lead-off base hit to start the bottom half of the fourth that the Bruins were able to convert on. A single for Matt Ramirez put runners on first and second with no outs. A flyout made for the possibility of a double play ending the inning, but a base hit to center from Sam Swenson scored Johnson III, giving the Bruins the 1-0 lead.

With one out in the sixth, the Bulldogs got their shot to tie it up when Caleb May doubled. Austin Colon drove him in with a single and advanced to second on the late throw to the plate. Stone got out of the jam though, keeping the score tied. Manager Kevin Kopple lifted Stone and brought in Chase Fetzer who got the first batter to foul out, but gave up a triple to Spencer Brandt, crushing it to deep center. The Bulldogs scored the run on a groundout and Fetzer finished the inning with no further damage.

A scare in the eight almost made the score 3-1 when a wild pitch got runners on second and third with one out, but Kopple went to the bullpen to bring in pitcher Austin Hallman. He struck out the side, stranding the runners and keeping the game close, 2-1. Even after a dominant inning, Hallman gave up a run off a double from Blade Strzelczyk in the top of the ninth, an insurance run for the Bulldogs to make it 3-1.

With their backs to the wall, the Bruins strung together a rally to bring home the win. The inning started with an out, but after a single and a hit-by-pitch, the Bruins got the bases loaded when Trevor Nannini got the ball past the second baseman to load the bases. Matthew Sebolsky got the job done with a single to center to score pinch-runner CJ Ibara from third. The Bulldogs made a pitching switch, but catcher Travis Miller got a single anyways, tying the game at 3-3 with still only one out. Jared Gee almost put away the game, but a play at the plate ended with Nannini getting tagged out, giving the Bruins the last chance to win with two outs. Johnson III came back up to bat, and after starting the first rally, he patiently drew a walk, forcing in Sebolsky to win the game.

Top Performers:
Stone allowed only one run over six strong innings. Johnson III had two hits, a run, and an RBI on the day. Swenson also had two hits and an RBI. Sebolsky was responsible for the last run and an RBI of his own.

What It Means:
The Bruins are 2-0 to start the 2020 season and have quality wins against two well-regarded teams, including the TLU Bulldogs, who made an NCAA Regional appearance in 2019.

"That was a great win for us over a really good team," coach Kopple said after the victory. "Stone gave us a great start and the 'pen gave us some big outs to keep us close."

What Happens Next:
George Fox wraps its weekend in Texas again on Sunday, February 9th against the Concordia (Texas) Tornados - a 2019 Super Regional team - before returning home for a three-game series against the Occidental Tigers. The first pitch at the Grand Prairie Tournament is scheduled for 11:00 am.