Big First Inning helps George Fox Defeat Willamette, 12-5

Second Game is Suspended after 1 1/2 Innings Due to Rain, will Resume on Sunday

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- George Fox University scored seven runs on six hits and one error in the first inning and went on to defeat the Willamette University Bearcats, 12-5, in the first game of a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday, March 16. The Bruins led 3-0 in the second game when it was suspended after 1 1/2 innings due to the weather.

The teams will resume the second game at 11 a.m. (PDT) on Sunday before starting the final game of the three-game series.

George Fox used the win in the opener to improve to 13-5 on the season, 6-1 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette dropped to 6-11 overall, 2-5 in the NWC.

Two players hit doubles for GFU during the first inning outburst. Derek Dixon belted an RBI double to right center to drive in Timothy Williams with the fifth run. Dixon recorded the first out of the inning when he was thrown out at third attempting to stretch his hit into a triple. Two batters later, Zach Hegelmeyer doubled down the left field lane. He later scored the final run of the inning.

The Bruins outhit Willamette, 13-9, during the game, but the Bearcats held a 9-7 edge after the first inning. Even so, GFU added five runs in the sixth stanza to increase the lead to 12-0. Willamette tallied one run in the seventh, three more in the eighth and one run in the ninth.

GFU's five runs in the sixth inning were earned on five hits.

Dixon opened the stanza with a double to right field. One out later, Hegelmeyer single to move Dixon to third. Emmett Ackerlund drove in Dixon with a sacrifice fly caught by center fielder Tyson Giza (Sr., Salem, OR/Sprague HS). The inning also included an RBI single by Zach Miller, a two-RBI triple by Josh Rapacz and an RBI double by Danny Clifford.

Willamette's run in the seventh was scored by Matt Hirsch (Fr., SS, Edmonds, WA/Meadowdale HS), who singled with one out, moved to third on a double by Tiras Koon (So., C, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School), and scored on a groundout by Ben Petersen (Sr., DH/C, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS/Butte College).

In the eighth inning, the Bearcats sent nine batters to the plate.

Rolenn Himuro (So., OF, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) singled to start the inning and stole second base. Austin Hagarty (Fr., 2B, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) walked, and Giza singled to load the bases. Himuro crossed the plate on a wild pitch. One out later, Hunter Gallant (So., 3B, Rescue, CA/Ponderosa HS) walked to reload the bases.

Hagarty scored on a fielder's choice that resulted in Giza being thrown out at third. Gallant tallied the third run by scoring from second on a single by Koon.

Willamette's final run came in the ninth inning, when Himuro singled and eventually scored on a base hit by Andrew Wilson (So., OF, Granite Bay, CA/Granite Bay HS).

Koon was 2 for 4 for Willamette with a double and an RBI. Himuro also went 2 for 4, while scoring two runs for the Bearcats.

Five Bruins each contributed a pair of hits for GFU. Rapacz led the way by going 2 for 4 with a triple, two runs and three RBIs. Miller was 2 for 4, scored twice and earned one RBI. Hegelmeyer finished 2 for 4 with two runs scored.

GFU starting pitcher Clay Gartner recorded the win to improve to 4-0 on the season. Willamette starter Peter Hoffman (So., RHP, Hayden, ID/Lake City HS) dropped to 2-4 with the loss.

BOX SCORE

George Fox University 12
Willamette University 5

Tiras Koon was 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI for the Bearcats.

Tiras Koon was 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI for the Bearcats.