Baseball swings back, wins two games after upset

Grant Lucas
Review staff writer

After a two-game upset April 10, the Linfield baseball team bounced back, winning the two-game wrap-up the next day against Lewis & Clark College.
The Pioneers jumped out on Linfield early, tallying eight runs on seven hits. Sophomore infielder Tucker Laurence led off the game with a home run to center field, setting the tone for a five-run first inning.
Pioneer senior outfielder Jordan Wlodarczyk teed off on a three-run bomb in the second inning, giving Lewis & Clark an eight-run lead.
Linfield sophomores Eric Evenson and Cole Bixenman led the way for the ’Cats with two hits apiece, but it was Pioneer sophomore pitcher Alex St. Pierre who stood out, striking out six Wildcats through eight innings while allowing only two runs.
In the second game, Linfield took a 6-2 lead into the fourth inning. The Pioneers, however, began their comeback, scoring two runs. In the fifth, Lewis & Clark added three more.
Sophomore relief pitchers Adam Rager and Roland Greene held Linfield scoreless for the rest of the game, sealing the victory for the Pioneers.
Senior outfielder Stew Davis and junior designated hitter Rhett Fenton hit home runs for Linfield.
In the third game of the series, Linfield took the lead early and didn’t look back. In the first inning, Bixenman drove in sophomore infielder Dustin Smith for the game’s first run. He then scored on a single by Davis.
In the second, Evenson shot a one-out single to center field. After advancing to second, Evenson crossed the plate on a Bixenman single. The Wildcats added another run, giving them a four-run lead.
Though the Pioneers narrowed Linfield’s lead to one run in the second inning, junior starter Reese McCulley shut Lewis & Clark down, giving up zero runs during the next five innings.
Senior pitcher Cam Larson pitched a gem in the nightcap, giving up just four hits and one unearned run.
Fenton led the Linfield offense early as he contributed an RBI single in the first and third innings, giving the Wildcats the early 2-0 lead.
After the Pioneers cut the lead to one run with a sacrifice fly in the fourth, Linfield gave Larson some room to work with. Bixenman got a hold of a pitch, driving it over the left field wall to give Larson some support.
The series split gives Linfield a 25-7 overall record and a 19-5 record in Northwest Conference play. Lewis & Clark drops to 7-21 overall and 7-16 in the NWC.
The Wildcats will continue conference play April 18 when they host Willamette University

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