Missionaries win series with Bruins

Whitman first baseman Peter Valentine stares down the oncoming Matthew Zeller of George Fox in the sixth inning of their Northwest Conference game Sunday at Borleske Stadium.

Whitman first baseman Peter Valentine stares down the oncoming Matthew Zeller of George Fox in the sixth inning of their Northwest Conference game Sunday at Borleske Stadium. Photo by Sean G. Parsons.

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WALLA WALLA — The Whitman baseball team rallied in the bottom of the fifth inning with two runs to take a 6-5 lead, added an insurance run in the sixth, and won 7-5 over George Foxat Borleske Stadium Sunday.

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Whitman first baseman Peter Valentine stares down the oncoming Matthew Zeller of George Fox in the sixth inning of their Northwest Conference game Sunday at Borleske Stadium.

The Missionaries rallied in the fifth and sixth after falling behind 5-4 in the top of the fifth on the Bruins’ four-run attack.

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The Whitman team cheers from the dugout after Kyle Buckman's RBI double in the sixth inning to the give Missionaries a 7-5 lead over George Fox.

The Bruins (16-7, 9-3 NWC) caught Whitman off guard with an unlikely rally in the fifth.

Taylor Johnson was beaned, and Zac Israel and Matthew Zeller both bunted for singles to load the bases with no outs.

Danny Clifford slammed a deep fly over the center fielder’s head for a RBI double.

Runners on second and third were left for Timothy Williams, as he smacked a double to score them both.

The game was tied at 4-4 when Whitman starter Justin Weeks was lifted for Will Thompson.

Weeks lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up seven hits and five earned runs. Weeks was cruising until the fifth with a 4-1 lead, when he hit the leadoff batter. He fielded the next two bunts, but couldn’t throw out the base runners.

After Thompson entered, Zach Miller singled in Williams for George Fox to take the 5-4 lead.

Whitman scored two runs on two hits to take back the lead in the fifth. Ozzy Braff had a lead-off walk and Aaron Cohen tripled to score Braff.

Kyle Moyes then hit a towering shot to the base of the left-field wall for a sacrifice fly to score Cohen.

The insurance run for Whitman came in the bottom of the sixth. Paul Heywood singled, Maclean Harned bunted him to second and Kyle Buckham singled him into score.

“It is nice to see our bats coming alive again,” Whitman coach Sean Kinney said. “Early in the season we were hot and then the scouting reports caught up with us. Now we’ve been seeing more breaking pitches and we’ve adapted to start hitting well again.”

The Missionaries went through four pitchers. After Weeks, the bullpen pitched 4 2/3 innings of one-hit scoreless ball.

“It wasn’t quite Justin Weeks’ day,” Kinney said. “Usually he eats up a lot of innings, but as the game wore on, we had to get him out of there. Middle relief was good with Will Thompson. Freshman Robert Maislin and junior Aaron Cohen closed it out for us.”

Whitman (9-13, 4-8 NWC) completed the first half of the conference schedule by taking 2-of-3 games from second-place George Fox over the weekend. The Missionaries won the opener Saturday, 3-2, before dropping the nightcap, 3-1, to set up Sunday’s rubber match.

“Our mentality last year was to give up after being down,” Kinney said. “This year we keep going and fighting back. It was nice to see two comeback wins against a really good George Fox team this weekend.”

Whitman 7, George Fox 5

George Fox 000 140 00 — 5 8 2

Whitman 130 021 00 — 7 9 2

Zarosinski, Kittleson (5) and Johnson, Egger (8). Weeks, Thompson (5), Maislin (8), Cohen (9) and Harned.

HR — none.

Hits — GF: Clifford 2, Williams, Miller 2, Johnson, Ackerlund, Israel. Whit: Buckham, Cohen, Young 2, Valentine, Madden 2, Heywood, Harned.

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