Boxers Edge Pirates Twice in Pair of Close Contests

Boxers Edge Pirates Twice in Pair of Close Contests

FOREST GROVE, Ore. - Pacific bounced back after being swept in a doubleheader Saturday to return the favor and take two wins from Whitworth in a pair of close games on Sunday at Chuck Bafaro Stadium. The Boxers won the first game, 4-2, and held off Whitworth for a 6-5 win in the series finale.

The Pirates (22-13, 13-8 NWC) had already clinched the conference series win with the victories on Saturday but ended the weekend with two wins and two losses against the Boxers (15-18, 9-12 NWC). The final game of the series did not count as a conference game.

Whitworth is currently third in the NWC standings with three conference games remaining. The top four teams will earn a postseason berth to the conference tournament. George Fox (12-9 NWC) ranks fourth while Puget Sound (13-11 NWC) and Willamette (10-11 NWC) are also in contention.

Whitworth hosts Willamette in its final regular-season series next weekend at Merkel Field.

Game 1: Pacific 4, Whitworth 2

Whitworth starter Cory Mack struck out a career-high 12 batters over 7 ⅔ innings pitched but Pacific's Tyler Kotchik limited Whitworth to one unearned run on three hits over six innings pitched while Donnie Bradley and Tanner Mansell accounted for the offense needed for the Boxers to win.

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the third inning after Garrett Hughes led off with a single and advanced to second base on a throwing error. Hughes moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Casey Isa before scoring when Brett Moser grounded out to second base.

The Boxers staged a two-out rally in the fourth inning to take a 2-1 advantage. Bradley doubled with two outs and Mansell singled to score Bradley. A double by Austin Gallagher gave Pacific the lead before the Pirates could end the inning.

Pacific score twice more in the eighth inning, once again using a two-out rally that began with Bradley. Bradley singled before Mansell followed with a double to plate a run. A defensive miscue by Whitworth allowed Mansell to score on a ball hit by Josh Keithly.

Matthew Nelson's fourth home run of the season to begin the ninth inning brought Whitworth within 4-2 and JT Phelan followed with a walk but two fly outs and a pop up ended the game.

Mack (3-3) allowed three earned runs on eight hits with one walk but ended up on the losing end despite a solid performance.

Kotchik (2-1) struck out three and walked one before Nathan Suyematsu entered the game in relief and collected the save, holding Whitworth to one run on two hits over the final three innings.

Hughes was 2 for 2 with a run scored for Whitworth.

Bradley was 4 for 4 with two runs scored while Mansell finished 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Game 2: Pacific 6, Whitworth 5

The Pirates erased a five-run deficit before the Boxers rallied to break the tie with a go-ahead run in the eighth inning and held off Whitworth in the final frame.

Pacific's Matt Hopp singled home Ben Duerr, who had reached via a fielder's choice and advanced to second base on a passed ball, with two outs in the eighth inning for what turned out to be the winning run.

Whitworth threatened to respond in the ninth inning as Davis and Nelson each walked to begin the frame but an infield fly, strikeout and fly out preserved the victory for Pacific.

The Boxers had built a 5-0 lead in the second inning despite totaling just two hits in the inning. Pacific loaded the bases with a walk, a fielding error and a single before a hit by a pitch forced home the first run of the game. A bases-loaded walk doubled the lead and a third run scored on a wild pitch. Hopp delivered a two-RBI single before Whitworth could escape the inning.

The Pirates fought back with a run in the fifth inning and scored four times in the sixth inning during the comeback.

Hughes sent a two-out double to left field and Dalton Carter followed with an RBI single to give Whitworth its first run in the fifth inning.

Nelson began the sixth inning with a double and after Jeremy Druffel reached via a throwing error, Carson Blumenthal and Paul Miller each hit RBI singles to cut the lead to 5-3.

Nick Motsinger's sacrifice bunt advanced Blumenthal and Miller before Thomas Wakem produced a pinch-hit, two-RBI double to center field, tying the game.

The Pirates put the go-ahead run on third base with two outs in the the eighth following singles by Motsinger and Hughes but Pacific escaped the frame without allowing a run before taking the lead in the bottom of the inning. 

Michael Renner pitched well in relief of starter Nick Scourey, holding the Boxers to five hits and one walk over three scoreless innings pitched with four strikeouts.

Phelan (0-2) took the tough-luck loss. He pitched the final four innings, allowing just two hits and one unearned run with three strikeouts and one walk.

Hopp was 4 for 5 with three RBIs to lead Pacific.

Druffel (2-5, run), Miller (2-5, run, RBI) and Hughes (2-4, run) helped lead the Whitworth offense.