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NEW RIVER, Ariz. – Aaron Thomassen was brilliant in his second career start, allowing just two hits while striking out seven with no walks in six innings. The sophomore hurler carried Linfield to its second consecutive victory with a definitive 7-0 win over Texas-Dallas Saturday morning at Boulder Creek High School.
Justin Huckins threw a spotless final three innings with four strikeouts for his first save of the season. Jake Wylie and Clayton Truex had a pair of RBI each to provide the bulk of Linfield’s scoring in the lopsided win.
“We had really solid pitching performances by both Thomassen and Huckins,” said head coach Scott Brosius. “We were very effective on the mound.”
The Comets (0-3) tested catcher Chance Laboda right off the bat, but the sophomore gunned down Zak Anderson to record the final out of the first inning.
Linfield (2-1) wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Wylie smacked a two-run double in the Wildcats’ half of the first, plating Corey VanDomelen and Nate McClellan. The two runs were more than enough offense to back Thomassen, who did not allow a runner past second base in his six stellar innings.
The ‘Cats capitalized on a two-out hit batter in the third, as Truex doubled home Kramer Lindell. Jordan Harlow followed suit in the ensuing at bat with an RBI single, and Linfield quickly doubled its lead.
A pair of walks and a single drove Comets’ starter Brandon Clounch from the game in the fourth, and Ryan Lynch was handed the ball with a pair of runners on base. The Wildcats took advantage on a sacrifice fly from McClellan, but Lynch did well to limit the damage to a single run in the inning.
Thomassen made quick work of Texas-Dallas in the fifth, striking out the side in dominant fashion. Those three outs came in the midst of an impressive stretch in which the sophomore fanned seven of eight Comets he faced, including five straight.
Back-to-back doubles from Lindell and Truex to lead off the fifth plated another run, and Laboda’s two-out RBI-single brought in one more to put the ‘Cats in front for good, 7-0.
Huckins took over in the seventh, and worked his way out of a leadoff walk by coaxing a double-play ball off the bat of Daniel Saxon. The junior righty repeated Thomassen’s fifth-inning feat in the eighth, as he struck out Alex Luna, Trevor Clifton and Jacob Price in order.
Texas-Dallas failed to put a rally together in the ninth. Huckins recorded his fourth consecutive strikeout and retired the final two hitters of the game on fly balls.
Tim Wilson joined Truex and Laboda in the multi-hit category as the senior All-American recorded a pair of singles and scored a run. The ‘Cats showed discipline at the plate, drawing seven walks off the combined effort of four Comets pitchers.
“Offensively, we were able to score some runs early in the game and were able to tack on as the game went on,” Brosius said. “It was a real good effort on all sides of the ball today.”
NEXT UP: Linfield wraps up its Arizona trip with a matchup against Concordia (Texas) Sunday, Feb. 10. First pitch is set for 10 a.m. MDT, and the ‘Cats will fight to come home with a winning record.