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George Fox gets back on track vs. Whitman

DIII baseball— Bruins nearly pull off a redemptive sweep, but fall 2-1 Sunday to last place Missionaries


After a disastrous March 15-16 road trip to Salem saw George Fox get swept by Willamette, the Bruins righted the ship last weekend, taking two of three games from Whitman.

GFU got off on the right foot Saturday with a 9-3 win in the opener, getting 15 hits en route to a comfortable win.

Brothers Josh and Zach Rapacz combined to drive in three runs in the first inning, with younger brother Zach belting a two-run double that scored Josh to make it 3-0.

The Bruins added three more runs in the fourth to put the game out of reach, getting an RBI single from Derek Blankenship and a two-run single from Derek Dixon. by: SETH GORDON - Not so fast - George Fox first baseman Derek Dixon gathers the ball in an attempt to pick off a Whitman runner Sunday during the Missionaries'    2-1 victory at Morse Field. Pitcher Tom Zarosinski and Dixon were unsuccessful on this attempt, but nailed the runner on the next attempt.

On the mound, Clay Gartner earned his sixth win of the season, allowing one earned run in eight innings of work. 

Things were a lot tighter in Saturday’s nightcap, as Ian Buckles and Brett Lambert butted heads in a pitchers’ duel.

The Bruins had 10 hits, but didn’t score their first run until the seventh, when Lambert balked to score Clay Mott.

Whitman responded with a run in the bottom of the seventh, but neither team could get a man on in the eighth or top of the ninth.

In the bottom of the ninth, however, George Fox loaded the bases and Blankenship laced a ball past a diving Kyle Buckham’s reach in right field to drive in Zac Israel for the winning run.

Buckles pitched 7.1 innings, allowing a single run while striking out 10. Sean Eberhardt (2-1) earned the win in 1.2 innings of relief. 

“They bounced back well after last week,” head coach Marty Hunter said of Gartner and Buckles. “Everybody did. That’s a positive from this weekend. We just have to keep doing it and win games when you get in these close ones. That’s the bottom line.”

Whitman turned the tide Sunday, putting up a pair of runs in the second against starter Tom Zarosinski and holding off the Bruins the rest of the way for a 2-1 victory.

Both runs against Zarosinski came in the second inning after the Bruins had taken a 1-0 lead in the first. Opposing pitcher and designated hitter Aaron Cohen led off with a towering home run to left, his second of the season, to tie the game. 

“When we get into tough games like this, everything, every pitch counts,” Zarosinski said. “I made one bad pitch and sometimes that’s the one that comes back to get you. We’ve got to keep aspiring, keep getting better.”

The Bruin defense was mostly to blame for the second run, which came after a pop fly at shortstop was missed, allowing Cameron Young to score from second.

Zarosinski settled in after the fourth inning to match Cohen on the mound, but GFU could not muster a hit on the two occasions it advanced a runner to third. He surrendered three hits in a complete-game effort, striking out nine, but took the loss.

“Runs were hard to come by (Sunday),” Hunter said. “We just hit ground balls in both situations. We didn’t do what we needed to do to win and Whitman played a good game. Their kid pitched a good game and they played well. You have to take care of business on your end and we just didn’t do that.”

The Bruins (17-6, 7-5 Northwest Conference), who are ranked No. 20 in the D3baseball.com poll and No. 23 in the Collegiate Baseball/ABCA poll, are now in fourth place, a half-game behind third-place Willamette, while Whitman (11-13-1, 2-10) sits at the bottom of the league standings.




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