George Fox Completes Sweep of Bearcats with 6-0 and 8-3 Wins

Willamette Belts 12 Hits in Third Game, but Bruins Rally

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

NEWBERG, ORE. -- George Fox University held Willamette University to four hits over the final seven innings of a previously suspended game, as the Bruins defeated the Bearcats, 6-0, on Sunday, March 17 at Morse Field. In the game originally scheduled for Sunday, George Fox rallied from a 3-0 deficit to outscore Willamette, 8-4.

With the wins, GFU swept the three-game Northwest Conference series. The Bruins improved to 15-5 on the season, 8-1 in the NWC. Willamette, which has opened conference play with three consecutive series against NWC powerhouses Pacific Lutheran University, Linfield College and George Fox, fell to 6-13 overall, 2-7 in the NWC.

The suspended game began on Saturday, March 16, but was stopped after 1 1/2 innings due to the weather. GFU led 3-0 on a trio of runs in the first inning, which included a two-run double from Timothy Williams. 

When play resumed, the Bruins added a fourth run in the bottom of the second. Willamette turned a 6-4-3 double play early in the inning, but Matthew Zeller was hit by a pitch and Zach Miller walked to keep the inning alive for GFU. Josh Rapacz singled up the middle, allowing Zeller to score.

The Bruins added two more runs in the fifth inning. Williams drove in Rapacz with the first run on a double to right field. Williams scored when Derek Dixon added a double to left field.

Meanwhile, GFU pitcher Connor Harris threw all nine innings. He allowed just four hits, while recording three strikeouts and one walk. Harris remained undefeated at 5-0. WU starter Albert Garcia (Fr., LHP, Broomfield, CO/Broomfield HS) fell to 1-3 with the loss.

Zeller finished the game 3 for 4 with a run scored for George Fox. Zach Hegelmeyer also went 3 for 4, while Rapacz, Williams and Dixon each earned a pair of hits. Williams hit two doubles and drove in a total of three runs. Dixon registered two RBIs.

Four players recorded one hit for WU. They were Tanner Oates (So., DH/2B, Sparks, NV/Spanish Springs HS), who broke up a no-hitter in the fifth inning, Tyson Giza (Sr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS), Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) and Brad Breier (So., C, Torrance, CA/South HS).

The teams combined for 29 hits in the final game of the series, as Willamette registered 12 hits and George Fox earned 17. The Bearcats held the early edge with a 6-3 advantage in hits through the first three innings.

It was in the third stanza that WU took a 3-0 lead. Giza walked to start the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Hirsch (Fr., SS, Edmonds, WA/Meadowdale HS). After Tosh Semlacher (Jr., RF, Gold River, CA/Jesuit HS) walked, Gallant doubled near the left field corner to send Giza across the plate and move Semlacher to third.

Breier, the DH, hit a two-RBI single down the left field line, before Ben Petersen (Sr., C, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS/Butte College) singled to put runners at first and third. Breier was thrown out in a run-down on a missed squeeze bunt, and GFU pitcher Tom Zarosinski escaped the inning with a strikeout.

The Bruins scored one run in the bottom of the third inning. Doubles by Dixon and Emmett Ackerlund helped GFU tally two runs in the fourth for a 3-3 tie.

Two innings later, a pair of timely hits helped the Bruins score five runs in the sixth for an 8-3 lead. The first key hit was a three-run homer to left field by Danny Clifford.

Later, with Williams at third, Dixon at second and the WU defense playing in, Jared Chase hit a hard grounder toward Austin Hagarty (Fr., Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) between first and second. Hagarty partially blocked the ball, but it deflected toward second base. The single scored both runners.

Willamette recorded the final run of the game in the ninth inning, when Giza scored on a two-out single by Hirsch.

During the game, Giza scored two runs and was one of five Bearcats who went 2 for 4. Hirsch, Gallant, Petersen and Corbin Bennett (Fr., OF, Tustin, CA/Foothill HS) also earned two hits, while Breier led Willamette with two RBIs.

Dixon went 4 for 5 and scored twice for George Fox. Clifford was 3 for 4 with a run and four RBIs. Miller finished 3 for 5 with two runs scored.

Zarosinski pitched just three innings for GFU. Relief pitcher Eric Kittelson (3-1) who tossed the next five innings, registered the win for the Bruins.

WU starter Brandon Simon (Sr., RHP, Los Angeles, CA/Pacific Hills School) pitched five innings. He allowed three runs on eight hits, with six strikeouts and three walks. He forced GFU to leave seven runners on base. Reliever Henry Harrison (Sr., LHP, Nevada City, CA/Nevada Union HS) dropped to 0-1.

Willamette will host NWC rival Lewis & Clark College at John Lewis Field next weekend. The teams will play a twinbill on Saturday, March 23 starting at 12 p.m. (PDT), followed by a single game on Sunday, March 24 at 1 p.m.


George Fox University 6
Willamette University 0
(Continuation from Saturday)

George Fox University 8
Willamette University 4

Photo gallery
(By Naomi Stukey, Photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Hunter Gallant went 2  for 4 with a double, one run and one RBI in the third game of the series.

Hunter Gallant went 2 for 4 with a double, one run and one RBI in the third game of the series.