SPOKANE, Wash. – George Fox hitters took it to Whitworth pitchers to the tune of 32 hits and 18 runs, leading the visiting Bruins to a doubleheader sweep of the Pirates in a battle of Northwest Conference title contenders on Saturday at Merkel Field. George Fox won the opener 8-1 and the nightcap 10-5.
The Bruins improved to 14-12 overall and 10-4 in the NWC, while the Pirates fell to 13-9-1, 7-4. The teams will conclude the series on Sunday at noon.
Game 1 – George Fox 8, Whitworth 1
Brian Ranta, the NCAA Division III national pitcher of the week, put together a second straight dominating performance for the Bruins.
Ranta (4-1) allowed six hits and no earned runs in eight innings of work, striking out two and walking one. Bobby Orozco finished up the ninth for GFU.
George Fox spread out its scoring, plating runs in six of the nine innings. Zac Israel got the Bruins on the board with an RBI double in the second inning. Derek Blankenship added an RBI single in the fourth for a 2-0 lead. Danny Clifford doubled that lead with a two-run homer to right center field in the fifth, his fifth home run of the season.
David Greenstein upped the advantage to 5-0 in the sixth before Whitworth finally got on the board in the bottom of the inning. A throwing error put runners on second and third before Gerhard Muelheims scored on Landon Scott's ground out to second.
The Pirates had runners on base in every inning but the first, but could never sustain a rally.
Blankenship added his second RBI single of the game in the seventh inning, just ahead of a sacrifice fly by Israel. Josh Rapacz added another sac fly in the eighth that scored Greenstein for the Bruins' final run of the game.
Clifford, Blankenship and Israel all had a pair of RBIs for George Fox.
Game 2 – George Fox 10, Whitworth 5
The Bruins jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning and held on for a 10-5 win to sweep the doubleheader and move ahead of the Pirates in the standings.
Greenstein, Rapacz and Derek Dixon all drove in a pair of runs for George Fox. Taylor Hill earned the win on the mound with 4.1 innings of relief.
The Bruins scored a pair of unearned runs in the second when an error and walk with two outs were followed by a wild pitch. Greenstein took advantage with a single to right that drove in both runs.
JR Jarrell cut the lead in half in the bottom of the inning with a sacrifice fly. But George Fox added two more in the third. Dixon had an RBI single and later scored on Israel's single to left field.
The Bruins broke the game open in the fourth with a three-run rally. Rapacz singled in the first run and later scored on a single to left by Timothy Williams. Dixon's sacrifice fly scored the final run of the rally.
The Pirates got two back in the bottom of the fourth. Tyler Pfeffer led off with his seventh home run of the season and Josh Davis drove in Jarrell with a sacrifice fly.
George Fox added single runs in the fifth and sixth. Rapacz had the RBI in the fifth with a single to right and Williams scored on a ground out in the sixth.
Taylor Hunter drove in the final Bruin run in the ninth.
Rapacz and Williams had three hits each for George Fox. Hill went 4.1 innings in relief of starter Taylor Dunn. Hill (2-2) allowed two runs on three hits. Dunn gave up three runs on five hits in 3.2 innings. Clay Gartner pitched the ninth.
Pfeffer went 3-4 with two runs scored and an RBI to lead the Pirates at the plate. Carson Blumenthal (3-3) gave up five earned runs on 10 hits in 3.2 innings. Taylor Isadore went 4.1 innings in relief and allowed two runs on five hits. Jason Renner allowed a single run in the ninth.