Mar 28, 2015

Bruins Split Two with Willamette

A Winning Tradition

  • Two NCAA Regional Tournament Appearances (2016, 2018)
  • Five Northwest Conference Tournament Appearances (2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Six NFCA All-West Region Athletes (One first-team, three second-team, two third-team) 
  • 4 Northwest Conference Coaches of the Year
  • 1 (NFCA) Division III National Pitcher of the Week (Abbie Bergerson, 2015)
  • Two National Top-25 Rankings (2016, 2018)
  • One NAIA Regional Tournament (1994)
  • One NAIA District Championship (1994)
  • One Cascade Conference Championship (1994)
  • 1 NAIA District Coach of the Year

By: Ryan Lackey

SALEM, Ore. --- After a 6-0 showing in Texas with three different teams, the newly ranked Bruins of (25) George Fox had little rest as they split a double-header with conference foe Willamette, Saturday afternoon.

Game 1

A walk-off 3-2 loss to Willamette in game one of Saturday's doubleheader snapped the Bruins' six-game winning streak. Uncharacteristically, the Bruins never quite broke out offensively, managing just two runs and six hits off of Bearcats starter Jade Smith, who got the win to even her record at 5-5.

Bruins starter Abbie Bergerson matched Smith for four innings, coughing up only five hits and a single run. Madison Sorensen, who relieved Bergerson, was also formidable, giving up two runs, one unearned.

It was the earned run, though, that doomed the Bruins. In the bottom of the eighth, with the score tied 2-2, Ashley Pender led off Willamette with a single and was sacrificed to second. After an intentional walk to Kayla Rieger, Sorensen plunked Alex Shields to load the bases. Sorensen recovered to fan Steffany Dunn for the second out, but improbably the next batter, Molly Lathrop, also leaned into an inside fastball from Sorensen and was hit, giving her a walk-off HBP and Willamette the victory.

The unfortunate Sorensen took the loss to drop her record to 7-2.

Courtney Howard had a good day at the plate, going 1-3 with a run and an RBI. Howard drove in Rebecca Pridmore with a single in the third to tie the game, 1-1. Amanda Woods went 2-3 with a stolen base and an RBI; she gave the Bruins the lead in the fifth, when her double brought in Howard.

The bizarre loss means the Bruins stand at 20-5, 10-3 in conference, as they take on the Bearcats again tonight.

Game 2

After losing Saturday's first game – a low-scoring contest dominated by both starting pitchers – the Bruins got their revenge in game two, which proved entirely different. The Bruins took the game 10-9, as both teams' unleashed explosive, volatile offenses against quality pitchers who were not quite in their best form.

Willamette nearly completed a sneaky comeback at the game's conclusion, scoring four runs in the final two innings, but George Fox did just enough to give starting pitcher Abbie Bergerson her 12th win of the season in what certainly was not her very best start.

Bruin shortstop Kayla Anderson, who had a standout 2-5, five-RBI day at the plate, opened the scoring in a big day in the third. With the bases loaded and no outs, Anderson obliterated a fastball, catapulting it over the left field fence. Anderson's grand slam, her sixth home run of the season, gifted the Bruins an early 4-0 lead.

Willamette got three of those runs back in the bottom of the third on singles from Jenna King and Amanda Absher, but the Bruins struck again in the fourth. Rebecca Pridmore's single and Alex Parker's walk put two runners on for Courtney Howard, whose single – with some help from center fielder Myranda Ramirez's wild throw – brought in a run. A wild pitch allowed the second Bruin run to score.

True to the nature of the game, the Bearcats pushed across two of their own to make the score 6-5 after four innings. In the fifth, the Bruins attempted to put the game out of reach. Pridmore's single scored Kady Huber-Kantola, and Alex Parker's rifled triple plated two more.

Enjoying a 9-5 lead, the Bruins felt comfortable, but two Bearcat runs in the sixth on Heather Winslow's double closed the gap to 9-7. Kayla Anderson's fifth RBI – a single – in the top of the seventh pushed the score to 10-7, but Willamette was not finished.

With two runners on, Alex Shields' ringing single brought in two to put the winning run on the plate with no outs. Bruins reliever Madison Sorensen, though, showed remarkable coolness, inducing a double play from Lathrop and a groundout from Ramirez to give the Bruins a 10-9 win.

The victory lets the Bruins finish the day at 21-5, 11-3 in conference. George Fox hosts a double dip with Linfield tomorrow afternoon.