SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth University got two strong performances from starting pitchers and Taylor Poffenroth homered twice as the Pirates knocked off 18th-ranked George Fox 10-3 and 7-0 in a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader on Saturday at Merkel Field.
Whitworth improves to 9-7 overall and 4-1 in the NWC while the Bruins fall to 14-5, 8-3.
The teams will complete the three-game series with a single contest on Sunday at noon.
The Pirates got on the board in the bottom of the second when Ben Wintringer led off with an infield single and eventually scored on Fitzpatrick's sacrifice fly. The Bruins tied the game in the top of the third, but they would have scored more if not for Wintringer's diving catch in left field. GFU had runners on second and third with only one out. Jarred Seamons lined a ball to left field that Wintringer caught on the dive while sprinting toward the line, allowing only the single run to score on the sacrifice. Smith then got AJ Valencia to fly out to end the threat.
Whitworth broke through for four runs in the fourth. After an error and a bunt single, Fitzpatrick lined an opposite-field home run over the right field wall for a 4-1 lead. Poffenroth followed with his first home run of the day over the left fielder for a 5-1 advantage.
George Fox pulled within 5-2 in the sixth after Turner Glenn led off with a single and eventually scored on a fielder's choice.
Whitworth broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Poffenroth's RBI single scored Fitzpatrick. After Joel Condreay singled, Phelan drilled his third home run of the season to left field, increasing the lead to 9-2. After a pitching change, Cody Simmons dropped a ball in the outfield where no Bruin could get to it, allowing Spencer Locati to score the final run of the inning.
George Fox scored an unearned run in the top of the seventh to complete the scoring.
Smith went 6.1 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on only four hits. He struck out four batters and walked three. Jake Briones finished up for the Bucs with 2.2 innings of two-hit relief.
Cameron Jack started on the mound for the Bruins and fell to 3-1 after allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 13 hits in 5.0 innings. He struck out two and walked four.
Poffenroth went 4-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored to lead Whitworth at the plate. Fitzpatrick was on base four times, going 2-2 with a pair of walks. He drove in four runs and scored twice. Phelan had three RBIs.
Game 2: Whitworth 7, George Fox 0
The Bruins could not touch Brady Simmelink, who struck out ten batters and allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings. Simmelink walked three batters and allowed only one GFU player to reach second base, improving to 2-1 this season.
The Pirates got all the offense they needed with four runs in the bottom of the first. Phelan's RBI single got Whitworth on the scoreboard and Tyler Bailey followed with a two-run double. Wintringer drove in the final run with a two-out single to right field.
Poffenroth hit his second home run of the day, and fourth of the season, with two outs in the second inning.
Whitworth's sixth run came in the fifth inning. Condreay led off with a double and eventually scored on Locati's sacrifice fly to right field.
The Pirates added an unearned run in the bottom of the eighth.
Darren Crosby threw the final two innings for Whitworth, giving up only one hit. He struck out three Bruins.
AJ Atherton started on the mound for George Fox and fell to 1-2 after allowing six runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings.
Condreay, Phelan, Wintringer and Ian Sugrue all had two hits apiece for the Pirates. Bailey was the only Buc with more than one RBI. Condreay scored twice.