GFU sports round-up — George Fox baseball team hopes a 2-3 record against the NWC champions will bolster its chances of receiving an at-large berth to the NCAA tourney

McMINNVILLE — Even though defending national champion Linfield had already sewn up the Northwest Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, the match-up with rival George Fox still had plenty of intrigue.

With the Bruins seeking an at-large bid to the postseason, who better to face than the No. 1-ranked Wildcats in their final two games of the regular season?

George Fox will have to hope that picking up another win over its Yamhill County rival will be enough to put its resume over the top after the Wildcats prevailed 5-1 Friday to balance out a 10-2 Bruin victory Sunday.

In the first match-up between the two teams, it was GFU ace Clay Gartner who emerged victorious in a 4-1 Bruins win, but 2013 National Pitcher of the Year Chris Haddeland laughed last, leading the Wildcats to a 5-1 win Friday to improve to 10-1.

Gartner (10-2) led the nation in wins entering the contest, but the Wildcats struck first, touching him for two runs in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth.

George Fox scored its lone run in the fifth on a Derek Blankenship RBI single, but otherwise couldn’t solve Haddeland, who pitched a complete game, allowing five hits with five strikeouts and one walk.

Gartner completed six innings, allowing six hits to go along with four walks and three strikeouts.

The Bruins turned the tables quickly in the season finale Sunday, scoring nine runs in the first inning and coasting to the win.

With rain in the forecast, the game was moved to Linfield’s artificial turf facility, which seemed to suit GFU just fine.

Strangely enough, all nine runs were unearned thanks to five Wildcat errors, which came as a shock considering Linfield led the nation with a .979 fielding percentage entering the game and was threatening to break the national record, also .979, set by GFU back in 2005.

Tom Zarosinski picked up the win after six innings on the mound, collecting six strikeouts to help offset seven hits, two runs and two walks.

Danny Clifford, Josh Rapacz and Clay Mott had two hits apiece from the Bruins’ total of seven.

George Fox (28-12) improved to 2-3 on the season versus the nation’s top-ranked team and will now wait until May 12 to find out if it will receive one of 14 “Pool C” at-large bids to the NCAA tournament.

Track & Field

Pacific Twilight — Sierra Robertson tied for second in the pole vault (11-5.75) to lead a contingent of Bruins in Forest Grove. Asia Greene also added a fourth-place showing in the long jump (17-2.75).

Arick Morrell paced the GFU men, placing third in the hammer with a toss of 180-4, while Zach Bibb turned in a 35:35.11 in the 10,000.

OSU High Performance meet — Rachael Adkins moved into 11th place in the triple jump (38-4.75) at the NCAA Division III level while finishing third overall.

Charity Arn was second in the high jump (5-5) to move into a tie for first in the conference and 16th in the nation with teammate Maria Green.

Rachel Kraske took fourth in the 100 hurdles in 14.67 to improve to 19th in the nation.

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