by Whitworth University Sports Information
SPOKANE, Wash. – Danny Clifford went 6-9 with five RBIs and five runs scored to lead visiting George Fox to a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader sweep at Whitworth on Saturday afternoon at Merkel Field.
The Bruins won the opener 10-4 and then rolled to a 14-2 win in the nightcap to improve to 19-6 overall and 9-5 in the NWC. The Pirates fell to 6-16, 3-8. The teams will complete the three-game series on Sunday at noon.
Game 1 – George Fox 10, Whitworth 4
The Bruins rallied from an early 4-1 deficit thanks in part to Clifford’s 4-5 game and four RBIs.
The Pirates scored four runs in the second inning, their largest scoring output in any one frame since scoring four runs in the fifth inning of a 9-3 win at Puget Sound on March 8th. Thomas Wakem led off the inning with a hit and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Matthew Miller followed with a two-run double down the right field line before Josh Davis capped the rally with a sacrifice fly.
GFU got two runs back in the top of the third to pull within 4-3. Josh Rapacz had an RBI single in the rally. The Bruins tied it in the fifth inning when Rapacz scored on a fielder’s choice. George Fox then went ahead for good in the sixth when Clifford single home the go ahead run and he later scored on Derek Dixon’s single.
Clifford’s two-run homer to right-center made it 8-4 in the 8th inning. He added another RBI single in the two-run ninth inning to cap the GFU scoring.
Bruin starting pitcher Clay Gartner struggled through the first two innings, but then settled down to finish with eight innings of work. He improved to 7-1 after allowing four runs on seven hits.
Carson Blumenthal (0-4) allowed six runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings while picking up the loss for Whitworth. Michael Renner and Hector Zavala allowed two runs apiece in relief.
Wakem was the only Pirate with two hits in the game.
Game 2 – George Fox 14, Whitworth 2
Pirate ace Cory Mack struggled to find the strike zone early and the Bruins took advantage by scoring ten runs in the first four innings.
Clifford came through again with an RBI double that sparked a three-run third inning for GFU. Rapacz added an RBI single in the frame. Leading 4-0, the Bruins put the game away with six runs in the fourth. After a leadoff double by Kadyn Nannini and a sacrifice, GFU followed with a single and two doubles to go ahead 7-0. Zac Israel added a two-run triple off of relief pitcher Jason Renner and Zach Hegelmeyer followed with an RBI single to cap the scoring in the inning.
Whitworth got its two runs when Gerhard Muelheims drove in a pair with a triple to left center field in the fifth inning.
Matthew Zeller added a two-run single in the sixth inning for GFU. The Bruins finished their scoring with two more in the ninth.
Rapacz finished the game 3-5 with three RBIs for GFU. Zeller was 3-3 with two RBIs.
Ian Buckles started on the mound for the Bruins and allowed two runs on three hits over seven innings to improve to 4-0. He struck out six and walked one.
Mack fell to 2-3 after allowing eight runs in 3.1 innings. AJ Milyard saw his longest stint of the season, going three innings in relief and giving up two runs on five hits.?