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GAME 4: Linfield 12, Whitworth 0, 5 innings
Karleigh Prestianni went 3 for 3 with four runs batted in, Erin Carson was 3 for 3 and scored twice, and Ashley Garcia was 2 for 3 with three RBI to pace a 14-hit barrage by the host Wildcats.
Shelby VandeBergh held the Pirates to just two hits, logging three strikeouts and one walk. VandeBergh raised her record to 12-3.
The Wildcats positioned runners at second and third base in their first turn at bat. With one out, Whitworth ace Riley Fritz then struck out sluggers Lisa Yamamoto and Garcia both swinging to turn the Wildcats away.
Linfield continued to make good contact at the plate in the second inning. Carson led off with a stand up double to start the frame and was sacrificed to third on a deep fly ball to center by Haylie Watson. Katy Brosig then stepped to the plate and delivered a sacrifice RBI and the Wildcats led 1-0.
Fritz walked McKenna Spieth before Grace Middelstadt singled to put two runners aboard. A slap single by Megan Wallo loaded the bases, bringing Prestianni to the plate. The senior All-American lined a pitch up the middle, scoring two runs. When Yamamoto’s ensuing single whizzed past Fritz’s glove and into the outfield, the Wildcats enjoyed a five-run lead before Garcia made it 6-0 with a double to the right-field wall.
Prestianni added to Whitworth’s misery in the fourth, plunking a two-run double to the center-field fence that sent Wallo and Middelstadt sprinting for home and ignited a six-run flurry.
Garcia sent a two-run triple to right and before Carson spanked a Taylor Gilbert pitch to the left-field wall, scoring Garcia, and Spieth drove a RBI single to center to pump the margin to 12-0.
Three Whitworth pitchers surrendered 14 hits to the hit-happy Wildcats. Fritz absorbed the loss to fall to 14-7.
Fritz and Jamie Brunner registered Whitworth’s only hits in the game.
GAME 3: Pacific Lutheran 7, Pacific 0
Leah Butters pitched a two-hit shutout and Kaaren Hatlen went 3 for 4 with a home run as PLU ended Pacific’s season in Saturday’s elimination game.
The Lutes pounded 11 hits on Boxer pitchers Sara Aasness, Shannon Miller and Jenn Yano. Aasness took the loss to fall to 7-4. Butters upped her season record in the circle to 7-3.
PLU scored in bunches, getting four runs in the first inning and then padding its lead with three more runs in the fourth. Montessa Califano gave the Lutes an instant lift with a leadoff triple in the bottom of the first. Amanda Hall followed with a two-run double before Hatlen delivered a two-run home run, her 11th of the season, to make it 4-0.
Hatlen’s single to center field in the fourth scored two more runs and Katie Lowery added one more with a ground-out RBI, sending Hall home from third base.
Becca Moen and Marissa Reichard accounted for Pacific’s only hits.
GAME 2: Whitworth 11, Pacific Lutheran 2, 6 innings
A three-run homer by Whitworth third baseman Julia Johnson, combined with multi-hit games from Makenzie Hope, Heather Hesselgesser and Megan John, propelled the Pirates to a resounding victory over the Lutes in a winners’ bracket game.
Fritz Riley handcuffed PLU to just two runs, one earned, while striking out three and walking one. Riley spread seven hits across five innings, improving to 14-6 for the season.
Whitworth advances to play Linfield Saturday at 6:30. PLU, which won last year’s tournament, falls into an elimination game with Pacific at 4 o’clock.
Three PLU pitchers combined for just one strikeout as Whitworth piled up 11 hits. The Pirates scored four runs in the first inning and two more in the second to take full command.
Lutes leadoff hitter Montessa Califano had three of PLU’s seven hits. Kelsey Robinson went 2 for 2. PLU starter Kaaren Hatlen (10-8) took the loss. She allowed three walks in the first inning before being replaced by Leah Butters.
GAME 1: Linfield 3, Pacific 2
Karina Paavola rolled up a dozen strikeouts while scattering four hits, helping the Linfield Wildcats edge the Pacific Boxers 3-2 in the opening game of the Northwest Conference Tournament Saturday at Del Smith Stadium.
Linfield (34-6) advanced to play either Whitworth or Pacific Lutheran in a winners’ bracket game late Saturday. Pacific (22-17) dropped into a 4 o'clock elimination game against the loser of Saturday’s Whitworth/PLU game.
Paavola pocketed her 20th pitching victory of the season against just two losses. The junior righthander pitched the full seven innings, yielding four hits and four walks with minimal collateral damage.
Linfield twice trailed by one run and each time rallied for the equalizer. A triple by Rachel Roberts on the game’s second at-bat gave Pacific the early momentum. Marissa Reichard tapped a single off Paavola, scoring Roberts and the Wildcats trailed from the get go.
Linfield evened the score in the bottom of the first. Grace Middelstadt walked, then scooted to third base on a wild pitch by Reichard and a passed ball that got by catcher Kylee Oshiro. Reichard mishandled a ball put in play by Lisa Yamamoto, enabling Middelstadt to tie the contest with an unearned run.
Pacific snatched a 2-1 advantage in the fourth when Moser’s double to center field scored pinch runner Megan Sigler all the way from first base.
Pacific parked runners at second and third in the top of the fifth but Paavola fanned Kaitlyn Shikada to turn the Boxers away.
Linfield answered with the tying and go-ahead runs in bottom of the inning. Megan Wallo and Karleigh Prestianni each smacked run-scoring hits, the latter a double to right field that put the ‘Cats in front 3-2.
Reichard, a freshman lefthander, held her own against the Wildcats, giving up six hits and two walks while recording six strikeouts. Reichard saw her record in the circle slip to 9-5.