Game 2 Box Score
CLAREMONT, Calif. – Migrating to California in search of a dryer climate and stiffer opposition, the Linfield Wildcats got one, but not the other Sunday against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.
The top-ranked and defending national champion Wildcats earned a doubleheader sweep of the 13th-ranked Athenas, winning 9-6 and 2-1, both in regulation innings.
Linfield (22-2) stretched its current win streak to 10 games while dealing CMS a third straight defeat following a 15-5 start.
Staci Doucette and Karleigh Prestianni each pounded four hits for the ‘Cats, who were tested with their two closet outcomes of the season.
Reliever Shelby VandeBergh held down the fort in the face of a charging CMS team and the Wildcats had just enough offense to take the victory in the opener.
VandeBergh inherited two baserunners with only one out in the third inning as the Wildcats clung to a 6-3 advantage. Linfield starter Lauren Harvey had already surrendered five earned runs, four hits and two walks to CMS during the game’s first 2 1/3 innings. VandeBergh, a promising sophomore, entered the game undaunted and limited the Athenas to an inconsequential run the rest of the way.
Emilee Lepp clobbered a three-run homer in the first and the Wildcats led 3-0 with the game only minutes old. Lepp later singled in the third, then added a two-run double in the sixth to give Linfield a commanding 9-5 lead. The senior All-American finished 3-for-4 with five runs batted in and registered her team-leading 15th stolen base of the year.
Prestianni, Ashley Garcia and Jaydee Baxter each had two hits in the game. Doucette smacked her 11th home run of the season, a two-run shot in the third. Prestianni followed on the very next at-bat with her fifth home run of 2012 and 38th roundtripper of her career.
For the Athenas, Shelby King went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, including two doubles and two runs scored.
Doucette went 3-for-3 and scored the winning run as the Wildcats scratched out a one-run victory over the upset-minded Athenas.
With the game tied at 1 heading to the sixth, Doucette doubled, then was driven home by a single from Prestianni.
CMS took a 1-0 lead in the third after Harmony Palmer scored on a sacrifice RBI by Amanda Banducci. The Wildcats countered with Garcia’s eighth home run of the season, a solo blast that led off the fifth inning.
Prestianni accounted for two of the Wildcats’ six hits.
Karina Paavola earned the pitching victory, tossing all seven innings. Paavola (11-1) allowed six hits and six walks while striking out eight batters. Hayley Schultz took the loss to drop to 7-7.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Intermittent rain moved into the area midway through Game 1 and threatened to halt action prematurely. . . the rain intensified after Game 1 concluded, nearly forcing cancelation of the second contest. . . VandeBergh earned her second career pitching victory, this time over a nationally ranked program. . . Lepp needed only a triple to hit for the cycle in Game 1. . . in six games in California thus far, the Wildcats are hitting .357 as a team . . . Doucette leads the way with a .647 average and four home runs while Lepp is next with a .526 average and a team-best 41 RBI. . . Paavola owns a 0.39 ERA in three appearances in the Golden State.
NEXT: Linfield visits La Verne (15-10) for a doubleheader Monday starting at 2 p.m.