Game 2 Box Score
SPOKANE, Wash. – Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) collected five hits and three home runs in seven at bats to power the 10th-ranked Linfield Wildcats to a Northwest Conference doubleheader sweep of the Whitworth Pirates Saturday at Merkel Field.
Ryan Larson and Robert Vaughn turned in solid pitching performances in helping the Wildcats improve to 16-4 overall and 10-1 in the NWC. Whitworth saw its record fall to 9-14 and 3-5 in conference play.
Truex went 3-for-3, homered and drove in five runs, while Dustin Smith and Kevin Allan were each 3-for-5, fueling and 13-hit effort by the Wildcats in the opener.
Linfield banged nine hits and five earned runs on Whitworth starter C.J. Perry before he was chased from the game in the third inning.
The Wildcats led 6-0 after three innings, then put the game out of reach with Truex’s three-run blast in the sixth.
Larson scattered six hits over seven innings, striking out three while holding the Pirates to two runs. Jacob Nolte took over on the mound to begin the eighth, holding the hosts hitless the rest of the way.
Larson, last season’s NWC Pitcher of the Year, improved to 5-0 for the season and 18-5 for his career.
Whitworth led 2-0 after three innings before the Wildcats awoke and began chipping away at the deficit.
A solo home run by Cole Bixenman in the fourth and a sacrifice RBI by Danny Urness that scored Kevin Coleman from third base evened the game at 2.
Truex’s game-changing two-run homer in the sixth proved fatal for the Pirates. Bixenman and Truex then launched back-to-back home runs in the eight for the final margin. For Truex, it was his sixth homer of the season and fifth fence-clearing shot in three games.
Vaughn struck out six batters and walked three to earn the victory. He improved to 5-1 for the season with a four-hitter. All three of Whitworth’s runs were unearned, keeping the plucky righthander’s ERA hovering at a remarkable 0.60.
Bixenman, Truex, Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) and Kyle Chamberlain all had two hits for Linfield, which extended its season-best winning streak to eight games.
AHEAD: The Wildcats and Pirates wrap up their three-game series Sunday starting at noon. Linfield returns home next weekend to host Puget Sound for a three-game set Saturday and Sunday at Roy Helser Field.