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LEWISTON, Idaho – Kyle Chamberlain went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI as Linfield finished its 2013 regular season schedule with an emphatic 14-5 victory over Whitworth Sunday afternoon at Harris Field.
Tim Wilson went 4-for-6 with three RBI, a run scored, a double and a stolen base. Kenny Johnson added three hits and Nick Fisher drove in three runs for the ‘Cats, who totaled 21 hits in the game. Zach Brandon tossed 5 2/3 innings for Linfield, allowing five runs on 11 hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Justin Huckins threw a scoreless final 3 1/3 innings to earn his seventh save of the season, as No. 1 Linfield improved to 34-6 on the season with the victory.
Nick Motsinger led the way for Whitworth offensively, going 3-for-4 with an RBI, a run scored, a double and a walk. Josh Davis, Gerhard Muelheims, Jeremy Druffel and Blake Thoren each had a pair of hits for Whitworth. Pirate starter Nick Scourey was driven from the game in the fourth inning after surrendering 11 runs on 11 hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Whitworth finished the season with a record of 14-24-1.
Wilson led off the game with a base hit into center and stole third after Jake Wylie walked to put runners at the corners with one out. Scourey struck out Kramer Lindell, but Fisher delivered a big two-out, two-run base hit that plated both runners and gave Linfield the early 2-0 lead.
Brandon worked around a leadoff walk to Motsinger to retire the next three Pirates and keep the Wildcats’ lead at two runs.
Jordan Harlow laid down a bunt single to get Linfield going in the second, and Chamberlain was hit by a pitch to give the ‘Cats two runners with no outs. Johnson moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and Wilson drove in Harlow in the ensuing at bat to increase Linfield’s lead to three runs.
Brandon cruised through the second on 10 pitches, retiring the side in order with fly outs to Fisher and Lindell and a strikeout.
In the top of the third, Scourey eliminated a leadoff walk issued to Lindell by getting Fisher to ground into a double play. Clayton Truex sparked a two-out rally with a double to left center. A bad throw from Muelheims on a ball hit by Harlow brought Truex home, and Chamberlain followed with his second career homer to make the score 6-0.
Brandon turned in another efficient inning in the third, and his pitch count sat at just 39 through the first three frames.
The ‘Cats put the game out of reach in the top of the fourth, as Corey VanDomelen tripled into the right field corner and Wylie drove him in with a base hit to left. Lindell walked and Fisher brought home another run with an infield single before Truex plated them both with a base hit to left center. Wilson drove in a run with a base hit off of new pitcher Michael Renner, and VanDomelen singled to load the bases for Wylie. The NWC RBI leader popped up to end the inning, but the damage had been done as the score sat at 11-0.
Brandon retired Davis to start the bottom of the fourth, but Muelheims broke up the no-hit bid with a base hit into left field in the ensuing at-bat. Back-to-back base hits by Druffel and Danny Jordan loaded the bases, and Thomas Wakem brought home the Pirates’ first run of the game with a fielder’s choice groundout. Thoren plated one more with a single to center, but Brandon limited the damage to two runs by retiring Jordan Pearson to end the inning.
After Linfield went down quietly in the top of the fifth, Erik Nikssarian, Motsinger and Davis started the bottom of the inning with three straight doubles. Muelheims brought home another run with a base hit to left as Whitworth put a dent in Linfield’s lead. Brandon settled down and got out of the inning without further harm, but the Pirates pulled within six runs, 11-5.
Linfield responded in the top of the sixth as back-to-back doubles from Chamberlain and Johnson with one out plated a run.
Brandon retired the first two Pirates he faced in the sixth before consecutive singles from Nikssarian and Motsinger drove the Wildcats’ starter from the game. Huckins took over in relief and retired the side on a fly ball to Fisher after walking Muelheims to load the bases.
Renner avoided allowing a rally in the top of the seventh as he got Harlow to ground out after allowing a two-out walk and base hit.
Chamberlain led off the eighth with his third hit of the day, a base hit into center field. After Chamberlain moved to second on a wild pitch, Wilson brought him home with his fourth hit of the game.
Nate McClellan doubled with one out in the ninth, and Kameron Bates pinch hit for Chamberlain. The sophomore delivered his second career base hit and RBI to plate McClellan and push the score to 14-5.
Huckins worked around a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to close the door and secure the win for the Wildcats.
RECORD WATCH: Linfield’s 34 regular-season victories are the most in program history…only two Wildcat teams – 2008 and 2010 – won more total games than the 2013 squad has thus far, and Linfield advanced to the NCAA Division III Finals in each of those seasons…with five hits on the weekend, Wilson now has 75 on the season, moving into third place behind Kelson Brown (89) and Tyson Smith (80)…Wilson moved into second place in single-season steals with 30, 15 behind Smith’s incredible total of 45 in 2010…with six RBI on the weekend and 58 on the season, Wylie now sits in fourth place in the category of single-season RBI in the Wildcat record books…with 90 stolen bases as a team, the ‘Cats are approaching the record of 106 set in 2010…Linfield’s 2.48 walks-per-game rate is the lowest in program history…with its 11th save of the season, the pitching staff tied the previous record, set in 2008 and matched in 2011.
AHEAD: Linfield enjoys a 10-day layoff before playing its first NCAA Division III Regional contest on May 15. Regional participants and locations will be officially released on the NCAA website Monday, May 13 at approximately 7 a.m. Pacific time.