Bruins Take Opener, Rains Halts Game Two
News Release Date:
Saturday, March 26
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- George Fox, one of the top hitting clubs in the Northwest Conference, sprayed 21 hits around Borleske Stadium in rolling to a 15-2 victory over Whitman College in the opener of Saturday's baseball doubleheader.
The Bruins continued their offensive onslaught in Saturday's second game, grabbing an 11-1 lead on 12 hits before heavy rain forced suspension of play in the middle of the sixth inning.
Weather permitting, action will resume at 11 a.m. Sunday. Once game two is completed, the third game of the weekend series will get started 30 minutes later.
In finishing off its game-one victory, George Fox ran its record to 15-5 on the season and 6-4 in the NWC. The loss dropped the young Missionaries to 3-18 and 2-8.
The Bruins scored at least one run in each of the first six innings to pile up a 12-0 cushion.
With his club sitting on a big lead, starting pitcher Brian Ranta gave way to the Bruins bullpen after six innings, and Whitman took advantage for two runs in the bottom of the seventh against freshman reliever Connor Harris.
With one out, Whitman loaded the bases when freshmen Kyle Buckham and Jimmy Madden sandwiched singles around a walk to sophomore Chris Andrews.
Senior Jay Richards then drilled a two-run single to center field. Harris escaped further damage when his infield turned an inning-ending doubleplay.
Madden had a stellar game at the plate for the out-gunned Missionaries, collecting four hits in four trips.
"Jimmy continues to do a great job for us," Whitman coach Jared Holowaty said. "He made the transition to catcher midway through the season because that's what we needed defensively, and he's continued to hit well in the lead-off spot.
"Catching tends to wear you down from a physical standpoint, but Jimmy has kept his focus at the plate. He can be a very tough out. He's a ballplayer -- a good one."
Seniors Derek Aldrich, Eric Gantenbein, Dan Winterstein, Sam Stahl and Nate Hickok combined for 13 of 21 George Fox hits in game one.
Aldrich led the way with four hits in five trips and three RBI. Gantenbein knocked in three runs with three hits, including his first home run of the season to lead off the fourth inning.
"George Fox is a good hitting club," Holowaty said. "They stay within themselves and don't try to hit a bunch of home runs. If you leave the ball up, they are going to hit it hard somewhere.
"We also didn't help ourselves defensively, and Ranta showed why he's the No. 1 pitcher in the conference. He kept us off balance and controlled the game."
Ranta, now 6-1 on the season, gave up six hits, fanned six and didn't walk a batter.
Whitman created scoring chances against Ranta in the first and fifth innings but failed to capitalize. After putting runners on first and second with one out in both frames, the Missionaries came up empty when a few hits might have kept the home team in the game.
Sophomore Justin Weeks, who started on the mound for Whitman and went four innings, was victimized by poor defense in a four-run George Fox second inning. A fly ball was dropped in the outfield and a pop fly into foul territory dropped to the ground when it should have been caught for the third out.
In Saturday's second game, George Fox seized immediate control with five runs in the top of the first. The Bruins bunched six hits into the inning, but the Missionaries again hurt their own cause with a dropped fly in the outfield and by allowing one batter to reach first base when no one covered the bag on a sacrifice bunt.
Whitman starter Jake Nelson settled down over the next few innings and Whitman scratched out a run in the bottom of the fourth to narrow its deficit to 5-1.
Freshman Casey Minnick lined a one-out double into the left-center field gap and senior Erik Korsmo reached on a George Fox infield error. After freshman Cam Young singled to load the bases, freshman Kyle Moyes ripped a run-scoring, line-drive sacrifice fly into deep center.
Buckham worked another walk to reload the bases, but George Fox starter Clay Gartner wriggled off the hook when Andrews lined a ball that was caught in the right-center gap.
The Bruins added a run in the fifth and then broke it open with four runs as the rain intensified in the top of the sixth. After a single, two hit-batters and a double steal ended Nelson's outing, George Fox kept up the pressure with two more hits and an RBI sacrifice fly.
As play was suspended, Gantenbein and Derek Blankenship had three hits apiece for the Bruins. Gantenbein had knocked in three run and scored three more.
Gartner scattered three Whitman hits and two walks over four innings. Joey Clancy pitched the fifth inning for the Bruins.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org