By Devin Abney
Coming into the weekend the George Fox University baseball team was ranked 17th in all of Division III baseball, but that national ranking didn’t stop the Bearcats from securing three consecutive victories over the Bruins.
“[We] expected to win, and it showed on the scoreboard,” senior first baseman Brandon Chinn said.
After taking both games in a doubleheader on Saturday, the ‘Cats found themselves tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 11th inning on Sunday. When Chinn came to the plate with the bases loaded and only one out, looking for a hit or sacrifice fly to win the game and secure the sweep.
He did just that, as his deep stroke to right field scored sophomore second baseman Shea Harrison and won the game in walk-off style for the ‘Cats.
“I hit it, and then I knew right away,” Chinn said via the Bearcat Network. “I left the bat up in the air a little longer and took my time going to first.”
On Saturday, junior pitcher Tyler Olson led the Bearcats in the opener, throwing a complete game seven-hitter with four strikeouts, earning the win as Willamette cruised to an 8-2 victory.
“Having the opportunity to go out and throw all nine [innings] was something really spectacular,” Olson said via the Bearcat network. “I’ve never been able to do so.”
Freshman designated hitter Ty Wyatt got the offense going for Willamette, smacking a two-run home run in the first inning, giving Willamette the 2-1 lead. The Bearcat offense scored two more runs in the second inning and four runs in the fifth inning to give Olson breathing room in the game.
“Pitching with the lead, there’s nothing like it,” Olson said.
In the second game, it was the Bearcat offense, guided by junior catcher Tiras Koon, which propelled the team to the 11-9 victory.
With four doubles, Koon was one of six Bearcats to have a multi-hit game as the Bearcats registered a season-high of 20 hits.
“I was just looking for my pitch,” Koon said. “They were pitching to my strength, and I liked it.”
While the Bruins would score nine runs to keep the game close, sophomore pitcher Jackson Watt entered the game throwing a scoreless ninth, securing the 11-9 win for the ‘Cats.
With George Fox’s advantage in recent years, including a three-game sweep against Willamette in 2013, the wins were that much sweeter for the Bearcats.
“George Fox always got the best of us the past couple years, so this meant a lot,” Koon said. “It felt great.”