A near no-hitter from sophomore Aaron Thomassen, another complete game from sophomore Chris Haddeland and four home runs were highlights of a week in which Linfield baseball won two of their four games.
Linfield lost 10-5 March 5 in a non-conference battle with Division II Montana State-Billings. The loss snapped Linfield’s 10-game winning streak.
Sophomore pitcher Joe Stevick started the ballgame and tossed four innings of one run ball, giving up just one hit, walking three and striking out six.
Linfield had a 3-1 lead after four innings. In the second inning, junior Nick Fisher walked and came around to score by way of a Montana State-Billings error. The third inning was highlighted by a home run by junior Kramer Lindell to center field, his first of the season. Later in the inning, Fisher doubled to left field, bringing senior catcher Kyle Chamberlain in to score.
The pitching unraveled after Stevick, as sophomores Kyle Billeci and Garrett Miller, as well as freshman Cody Erautt, combined to give up nine hits and nine earned runs, while walking nine batters and striking out just three in four 1/3 innings. Spencer Metzsch came in to get the final two outs for Linfield in the ninth.
Montana State-Billings benefited from the erratic Linfield pitching, effective work from its bullpen (six and two thirds innings pitched, two earned runs, five strikeouts and one walk) and a big game from second baseman Brody Miller. Miller went 4-6 with two RBI and a run scored.
Linfield played three conference games during the weekend versus Willamette University and responded to the mid-week loss with 6-1 and 4-3 victories.
In game one, the Linfield offense supplied 13 base runners and six runs to help pitcher Haddeland. Fisher crushed his third home run of the season, one of his two hits to go along with two runs scored and RBI, a walk and a stolen base.
Haddeland, fresh off being named the NWC Baseball Pitcher Student-Athlete of the week, did not need all six runs of support, as he fired his second straight complete game. Haddeland (3-1, 1.16 ERA) only needed 89 pitches to dispatch the Bearcats and gave up just four hits and one earned run, while striking out three, walking zero and inducing 18 ground balls.
The second game was nearly historic, as Thomassen took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before Willamette’s Hunter Gallant singled to right center to break it up. Thomassen (4-0, 0.66 ERA) finished with a line of eight 1/3 innings, one hit, two runs (unearned), three walks and nine strikeouts.
Junior Justin Huckins replaced Thomassen for the final two outs of the ninth inning and collected his fourth save of the season. The Bearcats made it interesting, scoring three runs in the inning to close Linfield’s lead from 4-0 to 4-3, but Huckins struck out Willamette’s Corbin Bennet for the final out, stranding runners on second and third base.
Linfield’s lineup saw some changes in this game with Fisher moving to second in the order, sophomore Corey VanDomelen moving to ninth and senior Clayton Truex and junior Nate McClellan switching places at the third and sixth holes. Senior Jordan Harlow finished 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored, and sophomore Chance Laboda launched his first career homerun to plate two in the third inning.
Sunday’s game against Willamette was rough and unpredictable for the Wildcats. Shortstop VanDomelen, who had just one error coming into the game, coughed up three errors during the 6-3 loss. Willamette’s Brandon Simon improved his record to 2-2 and kept the Wildcat hitters at bay despite ceding 10 hits and two walks through eight innings.
This was the first conference defeat of the season for the Wildcats.
Junior Zach Brandon picked up a hard-luck loss, dropping his record to 3-1 on the season. Despite giving up six runs (four earned), he gave up just five singles and one walk and had to deal with the three errors.
VanDomelen did go 3-4 at the plate, doubling in the eighth inning to drive in second senior baseman Tim Wilson. Wilson went 2-4 on the day with a run scored.
Junior Jake Wylie went 2-4 as well, smashing his second home run of the season and his eight double of the year.
Linfield’s record after last week sits at 12-3 (5-1 NWC) and will host a three-game series against Whitman (7-9, 2-4 NWC) March 16-17 at Roy Helser Field.
Tyler Bradley can be reached at