Game 2 Box Score
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Linfield flexed its muscles and put on an offensive show, sending five balls over the fence on the way to a pair of dominating victories over host Whitman Saturday afternoon at Borleske Stadium.
The 10th-ranked Wildcats (11-4, 8-3 NWC), who scored just nine runs total in last week’s series against Willamette, rode scorching bats along with solid pitching to display their dominance as one of the top teams in the nation. The Missionaries suffered the consequences and saw their record fall to 2-6 in the Northwest Conference, 2-18 overall.
Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) led the way for Linfield, posting four hits, including one of the Wildcats’ five home runs. The ‘Cats exploded for 21 runs, and seven players collected multiple hits to combine for 24 total in the first game.
Ryan Larson threw seven scoreless frames for Linfield and posted six strikeouts without issuing a walk.
Offensively, the ‘Cats struck early; Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) led off the second inning with a triple and was brought home on a single by Jordan Harlow. After a shutdown inning from Larson, Linfield posted a five-spot in the third, helped by one home run each from Zach Boskovich and Truex.
Linfield maintained momentum by scoring two runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth to stretch its lead to 11-0. The assault picked up again in the seventh, as six Wildcat hits plated six runs to put the game out of reach for the Missionaries.
Whitman starter Justin Weeks was driven from the game after five innings, during which time he allowed ten earned runs.
The Missionaries finally got on the scoreboard in the eighth when a two-run homer from Aaron Cohen gave the Missionaries their first runs of the afternoon.
Jake Wylie (Sr., Eagle, Idaho) hit a two-run pinch-hit home run in the ninth, and Harlow hit his first home run of the season, another two-run blast that made the final score 21-3.
Tim Wilson went 3-for-6 in Game 1, bringing his season average up to .385. The sophomore second baseman also hit his first home run of the season and posted three total RBI.
The in-between game break did little to chill the visitors’ bats. The Wildcats scored 11 runs off 10 hits, including three doubles and a pair of triples, to claim the nightcap, 11-1, and assure a series victory.
After a relatively quiet start – just two unearned runs over the first three frames – the Wildcats posted scored thrice in the fourth to blow the game open. Michael Hopp smacked a double down the left field line, scoring two runners. Later in the same inning, Kevin Allan laid down a bunt to plate Hopp and extend Linfield’s lead to five.
Whitman avoided the shutout with a solo homer from Peter Valentine in the bottom of the seventh. He attacked the first pitch delivered by reliever Justin Huckins (Sr., Bend, Ore.) and sent it over the left field wall.
The Wildcat tacked on five more runs over the final two frames, getting RBI singles from Boskovich and Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) in the eighth and an RBI triple from Wylie in the ninth.
Robert Vaughn earned his second win of the year, pitching six shutout innings while notching four strikeouts. He worked out of a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the second with a groundout to short, and was also helped by three double plays by the Linfield infield.
The ‘Cats turned a season-high four double plays in the nightcap for a grand total of six for the afternoon.
Whitman starter Will Thompson was not as lucky, as the Whitman defense committed a whopping five errors. Though Thompson was charged with just one earned run, the Missionaries gave up six total runs on his watch to deal their freshman right-hander his fourth loss of the season.
Lindell (2-for-4) supplied a double and a triple, as did Wylie (2-for-5). Hopp hit 2-for-5 with three RBI.
AHEAD: The ‘Cats finish up the three-game series Sunday at noon, looking to complete the sweep and establish full command of the Northwest Conference standings.