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Boxers open conference play

The Northwest Conference schedule makers did the Pacific baseball team no favors by sending the Boxers on the road to open their conference season against perennial powerhouse George Fox.

The Bruins won or shared the conference title five straight times from 2002-07 before finishing as runner-up last season. Pacific, meanwhile, struggled to an eighth-place finish a year ago.

The balance of power, it seems, has not shifted much. George Fox took three of four in a weekend series against the Boxers, roughing up Pacific pitching to the tune of 40 runs and 48 hits in four games.

The lone bright spot for Pacific (2-5, 1-3) was a 13-4 victory in Game 1 on Sunday. The Boxers busted things open with five runs in the second inning. Matt Hendryx drove in two more runs with a single in the fourth and Jeff Johnston's fifth-inning grand slam put the game out of reach.

George Fox's response was quick and merciless. The Bruins (6-3, 3-1) sent 19 batters to the plate in the fifth inning of Game 2, scoring 13 runs en route to a 20-4 drubbing.

Saturday's action was not any kinder to Pacific. In Game 1, Hendryx hit a pair of two-run home runs in the eighth and ninth innings to tie things at 8-8, but the Bruins prevailed in the bottom of the ninth when Todd Siler led off with an inside-the-park home run.

George Fox left little to chance in an 8-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday.