NEWBERG, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers won their Northwest Conference-opening series with the George Fox Bruins after winning both games on Sunday. Over the three games, senior Tommy Massari hit .667 and had five RBI, while Matt Donovan finished 8 of 14 from the plate, to lead a Pios offense that averaged nearly 10 runs per game.
The series win is the first for the Pios against George Fox in at least 18 years. Lewis & Clark was one of four teams to open the NWC schedule 2-1 and sits in first place.
Pinch-hitting with two outs in the eighth inning, Akira Abderrahman hit a go-ahead two-run home run to take the Lewis & Clark Pioneers to an 8-7 win and a NWC series victory over George Fox. The win completed a Sunday sweep of the Bruins at the Morse Athletic Fields.
Abderrahman hit the home run, his and the Pios' first of the year, off Matt Voelzke (0-1) after Nick Lockwood became the tying run by reaching on a two-out walk.
"I went into the at-bat and coach [Tom] Flynn told me to hit a home run, so I was looking to hit the ball as hard as I could," said Abderrahman. "As soon as it touched the bat, I knew it was going to go over the fence, so it felt pretty good."
The home run capped off an outstanding offensive performance for the Pioneers, who put up 10 hits in the rubber match after 19 hits in Sunday's first game. Much like in the opening game Sunday, eight of the Pioneers' 10 hits were singles. Chandler Vieira, Conner Sick and Sean Shepherd also had one RBI apiece in the finale.
Connor Eggleston (1-0) came on to pitch the final 1 1/3 innings to get the win, allowing one hit and no runs. Robert Reaser and Austin Conniff combined for 5 2/3 innings of work to start the game, allowing six runs before Nat Richman and Lockwood combined for one run over the next two innings.
The Pioneers had an opportunity to tie the game before the eighth inning after loading the bases with no outs the inning before. After singles by Vieira and Ben Beck, Kellen Ochi hit a bunt single. Conner Sick, who made a diving grab in right field and threw to first for a double play that ended George Fox's half of the fifth, hit an RBI groundout to close the Pios' gap to 7-6. Both Matt Donovan and Shepherd struck out to end the inning. Still, the run allowed Abderrahman's home run to put the Pioneers ahead instead of tied at seven.
Entering the weekend, Lewis & Clark had not won a series against George Fox since at least 1999.
"They're great wins," said Abderrahman. "It's great to get that first series under our belt. To beat George Fox, it's been forever since we've done that. We're going in the right direction. All the boys hit great today and our pitching kept us in the games. I'm glad I could do my job today."
Trailing 2-0 entering Sunday's resumption of a postponed game from the day before, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers had innings of seven and four runs in an explosive offensive performance to defeat the Bruins, 15-12.
The game was postponed in the second inning at Lewis & Clark's Huston Sports Complex because of poor field conditions following a 20-minute rain storm that added to a week's worth of rainy weather. The teams agreed to switch sites to the Morse Athletic Fields for the remainder of game two and the third game, which was moved back to about 2 p.m. on Sunday.
The victory was the first of the season for the Pioneers in their first Northwest Conference series of the season.
Lewis & Clark allowed four runs in the top of the third to fall behind 6-0 before getting on the board with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Batting as the home team at George Fox's field, the Pioneers scored seven runs in the bottom of the fourth inning on five singles, including a two-RBI base hit by Jacob Burton. The Pios added four in the bottom of the sixth inning on three more singles. Tommy Massari drove in two runs and finished 2 for 3 from the plate.
The Pios had 19 hits off of five George Fox pitchers. Matt Donovan went 4 for 5 and scored three runs, while Sean Shepherd, Nick Lockwood and Ben Beck tallied three hits apiece. Conner Sick, who hit a two-RBI single in the eighth, and Massari had a game-high three RBI.
Andrew Yarak (1-1) was on the mound to begin Sunday's play after Robert Reaser originally started on Saturday. Yarak won his first collegiate game, throwing 4 2/3 innings. He allowed 10 hits and 10 runs while striking out three. Connor Eggleston (1) picked up his first career save after closing the game over 2 1/3 innings without allowing a run on two hits.
Garrett Day (0-3), who allowed four hits and four runs without recording an out in relief of two-day starter Alex Jondal, took the loss for George Fox. The Bruins had 16 hits, including three apiece from Sam Swenson, Connor Newell and Andrew Reichenbach.
Lewis & Clark travels to Tacoma, Wash. next weekend for a three-game series with Pacific Lutheran starting Saturday.
Other Northwest Conference Scores - Sunday
Whitworth 10, Pomona-Pitzer 6
Pacific Lutheran 1, Puget Sound 0
Pacific 4, Whitman 2
Whitworth 7, Pomona-Pitzer 6