ANTHEM, Ariz. – Kevin Coleman singled in the winning run in the fourth inning, leading the eighth-ranked Linfield Wildcats to a 2-1 season-opening victory over the La Verne Leopards Thursday in the opening round of action at the Arizona Classic tournament.
Coleman’s game-clinching hit scored Truex from second base, giving the Wildcats a 2-0 cushion. Moments earlier, Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) had singled and was pushed to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Allan.
The Wildcats cashed in an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Dustin Smith reached base on an error, then advanced to second base on a single by Eric Evenson. A RBI single from Zach Boskovich plated Smith, who accounted for the season’s first run.
La Verne scored its lone run in the seventh. Cody Hazel reached base on a fielder’s choice, before moving into scoring position on an Aaron Coopman single. Donovan’s Petta’s double off of Wildcats starter Ryan Larson put the Leopards on the scoreboard.
Larson pitched scattered four hits across seven innings to earn the victory. He struck out six and walked just one before turning the game over to reliver Zach Manley (Sr., Coburg, Ore.) to start the eighth. Manley stuck out a pair of Leopards and surrendered just a single hit the rest of the way to collect the save.
“We got a couple of great pitching performances out of Ryan and Zach that really helped to hold the scoring down and allowed us to scratch out the win,” said Wildcats coach Scott Brosius. “There were a couple of times in the early innings when guys looked like they had first-game jitters, but overall, we played pretty solid.”
NEXT: Tournament play continues Friday as the Wildcats battle Concordia (Texas) at 1 p.m. Pacific time. Concordia (2-1) roughed up Pacific Lutheran 13-5 in another opening round game Thursday.