Game 2 Box Score
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Six RBIs by All-American Emilee Lepp, combined with dominating pitching performances from Lauren Harvey and Karina Paavola, propelled top-ranked Linfield past NAIA rival Concordia-Portland 7-3 and 10-3 in a nonconference doubleheader Wednesday at Del Smith Stadium.
Lepp went 5-for-8 with six RBIs while Harvey and Paavola each pocketed multi-strikeout pitching victories for the defending NCAA champions in their season-opening games.
Lepp pounded a couple of extra-base hits, drove in four runs and stole three bases to power the Wildcats past the Cavaliers in the opener. Matching three-run bursts in both the fourth and sixth innings were the difference.
The ‘Cats jumped on Cavs starter Ashley Suter from the get-go. In the first inning, Lepp reached base on an error, then stole second and third bases on successive plays. Staci Doucette drew a walk to put two runners aboard, but Karleigh Prestianni struck out looking to end the inning.
Ashley Garcia, making her first career start at second base, made it 1-0 in the second with a solo home run over the left-field wall.
Kyndell Andrews put the Cavaliers in front in the fourth, smacking a two-run homer to left field.
Katy Brosig drew Linfield even with a double that scored Jordan Mixsell from first base. Brosig then advance to third on a wild pitch.
Moments later, Lepp put the ‘Cats in control with a two-out, two-run triple to right field that made it 4-2. Aided by a pair of walks, the ‘Cats loaded the bases on Suter but designated player Hayley Watson popped up to shortstop Mary Lugar to end the inning.
Luther trimmed the margin to 4-3 with a solo home run to lead off the sixth inning. In the bottom of the inning, Lepp made it 6-3 with a two-run double, then Prestianni added to the Wildcats total with a RBI single that made it 7-3.
The Cavaliers put runners at first and second in the seventh, but Paavola fanned consecutive batters in relief to end the game.
Harvey (1-0) earned the win, throwing six strong innings. She struck out five and walked a pair while scattering five hits. Paavola allowed a walk and a hit before slamming the door on the Cavs for good in the seventh.
Suter absorbed the loss to drop to 2-2. She walked five Wildcats, gave up five hits and struck out four.
Lepp went 3-for-4, including her 52nd career home run, as Linfield battered Concordia pitching for 10 hits – four of them homers. Prestianni smacked two home runs in three trips to the plate to raise her career total to 35.
In the first inning, Lepp doubled, scoring leadoff hitter Grace Middelstadt (Sr., Battle Ground, Wash.) and advancing Baxter to third base. Doucette sent home Baxter to make it 2-0 for Linfield in the early going.
The Wildcats erupted for five runs in the third inning, highlighted by a three-run homer from Prestianni and a two-run blast to center field by Watson off CU starter Jordyn Brown.
Trailing 7-0 in the fourth, Concordia got on the scoreboard with a two-run double from Jennifer Lutton that scored Kate Santos and Andrews. Lepp drilled a home run to left-center field in the bottom of the inning, pumping the Wildcats’ advantage back to six, 8-2.
Genskay tapped a RBI single to close the gap to 8-3 in the sixth but it mattered little after Prestianni hammered her second home run of the game, a two-run rainbow that careened off the roof of the Wildcats’ covered batting cages beyond the center field fence.
Paavola (1-0) pitched six innings to collect the win. She struck out seven Cavaliers while giving up nine hits and one walk.
Brown (2-3) pitched the first 2 1/3 innings, surrendering seven earned runs and three extra-base hits without a recording a single strikeout.
NEXT: Linfield opens Northwest Conference play on Saturday against the Whitworth Pirates. The four-game series, originally scheduled to be play on Whitworth’s home field in Spokane, has been moved Columbia Basin Community College in Pasco. Saturday’s doubleheader starts at 1 p.m. Sunday’s action gets underway at noon.