’Cats snatch a win during regional first round

After posting a six-run seventh inning to defeat Mississippi College on May 19, the Linfield baseball team fell victim to a 10-run onslaught by Pomona-Pitzer on May 20 in the NCAA Division III Baseball McMinnville Regional.

The loss sets Linfield up for an elimination game against Chapman University on May 21.

Before the game, Larson said the whole team had a strong sense of focus, but everyone stayed relaxed and was ready to play. They came into the game knowing what needed to be done to win, he said, and the team accomplished that.

Larson’s three-hit, one-run outing May 19 earned him his 10th victory of the season, which is the fourth-most wins in the nation.

“Heading into the game, my plan was to get ahead of batters early in the count and make quality pitches,” he said. “Aside from the home run, I was able to locate all of my pitches and change speeds to throw the hitters off balance.”

Larson and Mississippi junior Tyler Seaman each dominated the opposing lineup, with no signs of breaking. That big seventh inning, however, gave Seaman his first loss of the season.

In the top of the second inning, Choctaw junior third baseman Shane Bennett appeared to be fooled on an off-speed pitch, lunging forward to the pitch. Bennett, however, made contact and sent it flying over the left-field wall.

Twice in the first four innings, the Wildcats had a runner on third base, but they were unable to bring them home to even the score.

Linfield took advantage of both pitching and fielding mistakes in the bottom of the seventh to tally six runs and grab a solid hold of the lead.

Seaman allowed the ’Cats to load the bases with nobody out after walking two and ceding a single to senior first baseman Rhett Fenton. Senior catcher Mitch Webb hit a soft grounder to senior shortstop Dakota Bodree. Bodree, however, couldn’t field it cleanly, allowing sophomore left fielder Zach Boskovich to score and tie the game.

With one out in the inning and the bases still loaded, senior center fielder Tyson Smith laced a two-run single to center field, giving Linfield a two-run edge. Two batters later, Bodree committed his second error of the inning, allowing Smith and junior second baseman Eric Evenson to come home. A sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Cole Bixenman capped off the inning, giving Linfield a five-run advantage.

“Late in the game we made an adjustment as a team and quit swinging at the breaking pitch which caused him to get behind in the count and walk a few guys,” Smith said. “That got him in trouble and gave our offense a little life. We had some great AB’s that inning from everyone and some aggressive base running that allowed us to keep the pressure on them all inning long and to capitalize on our few hits and and their errors.”

Since allowing the home run in the second inning, Larson retired 22 straight batters en route to the win.

Linfield’s victory earned them a matchup against Pomona-Pitzer on May 20.

“We just want to go out there with confidence and play our game,” Smith said. “We know that if we play the way we are capable of that we will put ourselves in good position to be successful. We just want to go out there with the confidence knowing what we have the ability to beat anyone.” the bottom of the seventh to tally six runs and grab a solid hold of the lead.

Seaman allowed the ’Cats to load the bases with nobody out after walking two and ceding a single to senior first baseman Rhett Fenton. Senior catcher Mitch Webb hit a soft grounder to senior shortstop Dakota Bodree. Bodree, however, couldn’t field it cleanly, allowing sophomore left fielder Zach Boskovich to score and tie the game.

With one out in the inning and the bases still loaded, senior center fielder Tyson Smith laced a two-run single to center field, giving Linfield a two-run edge. Two batters later, Bodree committed his second error of the inning, allowing Smith and junior second baseman Eric Evenson to come home. A sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Cole Bixenman capped off the inning, giving Linfield a five-run advantage.

“Late in the game, we made an adjustment as a team and quit swinging at the breaking pitch, which caused him to get behind in the count and walk a few guys,” Smith said. “That got him in trouble and gave our offense a little life. We had some great ABs that inning from everyone and some aggressive base running that allowed us to keep the pressure on them all inning long and to capitalize on our few hits and on their errors.”

Since allowing the home run in the second inning, Larson retired 22 straight batters en route to the win.

Linfield’s victory earned them a matchup against Pomona-Pitzer on May 20.

“We just want to go out there with confidence and play our game,” Smith said. “We know that if we play the way we are capable of that we will put ourselves in good position to be successful. We just want to go out there with the confidence knowing what we have the ability to beat anyone.”

With help from senior infielder James Kang and freshman outfielder Eric Munzer, who each posted multi-home run games, the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens powered past Linfield 10-4.

The Sagehens grabbed a 2-0 lead after three innings after Munzer and Kang delivered solo home runs in the second and third frame, respectively.

Linfield responded in the bottom of the third after RBI singles by Bixenman and junior third baseman Dustin Smith, evening the score.

Kang belted his second bomb of the game with a three-run shot over the left-field wall to give Pomona-Pitzer a four-run advantage.

After Linfield tallied two runs in the home-half of the frame, Pomona-Pitzer extended its lead to five runs, including a two-run single by sophomore third baseman James Campbell in the seventh inning. The Sagehens would add one more in the ninth inning to seal the victory.

Tyson Smith led the way for Linfield, recording four hits and two runs scored.

Linfield will face the No. 1 seed Chapman University on May 21 in a win-or-go-home matchup.

Grant Lucas

Freelancer

Grant Lucas can be reached at

linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com

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