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GFU sports round-up: Both baseball and softball teams are in the final weeks of the regular season

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN
 - Despite a strong start to conference play, GFU is moving back in the NWC standings.

The George Fox baseball team lost all three of its games against Willamette over the weekend, falling to 14-10 in the Northwest Conference and 20-14 overall. The Bruins are now in fourth place in the conference, just ahead of Pacific Lutheran (20-13, 12-9 NWC).

GFU lost game one after starting pitcher Christopher Stone surrendered 10 hits, five earned runs and walked three in five innings of work. His relievers allowed three more runs, bringing the game to its final score of 8-5 in favor of the Bearcats.

The Bruins picked up RBI from shortstop Matt Voelzke, outfielders Kyler Brudwick and Jason Garcia, and pinch hitter Chase Fetzer. They managed 10 hits as a team in the series opener, played Saturday in Newberg.

Willamette entered the series 13-13, 10-8 in the NWC. Over the weekend, their bats got hot and they picked up convincing wins over the Bruins.

Game two was an example of Willamette's offensive firepower – at least this weekend. The Bearcats won 10-4 and shelled both pitchers from George Fox throughout a 15-hit contest.GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN
 - Junior righty Christopher Stone was among the Bruin pitchers who struggled in the weekend's series against Willamette.

Landon Schirer, who was previously undefeated at 6-0, took the loss for GFU after surrendering eight hits and seven runs (four earned) in 4.2 innings. He was relieved by Corey Caldwell, who finished out the contest and gave up seven hits and three earned runs.

The duo combined to throw 187 pitches on the afternoon. The game marked the first of a doubleheader Sunday, with game three of the series being played right after. In that game, Willamette shut down the Bruins offensively in a 9-1 drubbing.

Brandon Nelson (3-5) picked up the win on the mound after hurling seven innings and surrendering five hits and one earned run – a solo home run by Matt Ramirez – while striking out five GFU batters. Justin Scanlon starred for the Bearcats at the plate, going four-of-five with four RBI.

Chase Fetzer took the loss for GFU after fiving up six hits and six earned runs in 1.1 innings of work. Four other GFU pitchers saw the mound before the blowout loss was over.

The Bruins look to shake off the series sweep with their final two series' of the season: a three-game set at home against Chapman Friday and Saturday, and a three-game series against Willamette May 3-5, scheduled after the Northwest Conference Tournament.

Softball

GFU softball split a four-game series with Pacific Lutheran on Saturday and Sunday, splitting games each day. On Saturday, the Bruins lost 12-7 before winning 7-6. On Sunday, they lost 12-1 before winning 13-5.

The up and down nature of the series was a microcosm of the season so far for GFU, which is now 21-13 overall and 13-10 in conference.

Game one was a struggle for the Bruins defensively despite a solid offensive outing. Sarah Storton (5-1) took her first loss of the season, surrendering five hits and four earned runs in just two innings in the circle. Ashley Davis struggled in relief, giving up six runs (five earned) in just 3.2 innings of work.

Game two was a bounce back for a Bruin team that has proven resilient following a loss this year. The game went back and forth, but a three-run third inning and three-run fifth inning ended up being the difference for GFU.

Game three ended in five innings and was a blowout. Storton gave up eight hits and five earned runs while Kailey Newkirk gave up an additional six earned runs. One of the 12 runs the team gave up was unearned to either pitcher.

In the fourth and final game of the series, GFU flipped the script and won 13-5 in six innings thanks to a tremendous outing from Allison Meyer and Claire Fountain, who were a combined four-of-six from the plate with seven RBI. The team limited the Lutes offensively despite a not-so-strong outing defensively earlier in the day.

GFU looks ahead to its final series of the season against Willamette this weekend. Games one and two are on Friday in Newberg, while games three and four are on the road Saturday. After that, it's Northwest Conference tournament time for a Bruin team looking to make its way up the standings and finish with consistency.

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