PORTLAND, Ore. – Kenny Johnson (Sr., Federal Way, Wash.) drove home the clinching run in the 11th inning to spur the Linfield Wildcats to a 3-2 nonconference victory over Concordia-Portland Tuesday night at Hilken Community Stadium.
Johnson’s line drive up the middle with one out allowed Kevin Allan to score the game-winner from second base.
The confidence-building victory over their NAIA foes from Portland comes at a crucial time for the Wildcats, who extended their current win streak to four games, one shy of equaling the longest winning stretch of the season. Linfield remains in the thick of the Northwest Conference title chase, but faces two key series against rivals Pacific Lutheran and George Fox in the weeks ahead.
Allan went 3-for-4 and scored two runs and Tim Wilson had three hits and a stolen base to pace Linfield offensively.
Five Linfield pitchers saw action in the game, but it was closer Aaron Thomassen (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) who earned the victory.
In the CU third, Blake Drake’s RBI singled up the middle to score Jordan Keeker for a 1-0 Cavaliers lead.
Linfield answered in the fifth. Cavs starter Shayne Nakata walked Allan and Michael Hopp consecutively, then Wilson sent a game-tying single through the right side.
The Cavaliers tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the inning. Nathan Douglas and Sheldon Austria each singled to put two runners aboard, then capitalized on a wild pitch and subsequent throwing miscue by Wildcats catcher Kyle Chamberlain to knot the score.
The Wildcats jumped on reliever Eric Weir for four hits in the two extra innings and came close to ending the game in the 10th. Lindell, who led off the inning, was hit by a pitch, then scooted to second on a sacrifice by pinch hitter Danny Urness. But the Cavs caught Zach Boskovich in a rundown for the second out, and Truex grounded out to put the Wildcats down.
In the 11th, Johnson sent a line drive up the middle, scoring Allan from second base. After Tim Wilson singled and stole second, Jordan Harlow delivered a single that could have added to the Wildcats’ lead, but Johnson was gunned down at the plate. Weir struck out Lindell to end the inning.
With two outs and a runner aboard in the bottom of the inning, Thomassen got Sean Myrom to send up an easy fly ball into center field, where Boskovich gloved it to end the game.
Linfield stranded 12 runners to Concordia’s six.
Thomassen earned his first collegiate victory, pitching the final four innings. Thomassen spread out three hits while fanning four Cavaliers.
Linfield outhit Concordia 12-8.
The Wildcats improved to 17-7 while the Cavaliers dropped to 18-16.
COMING UP: Linfield hosts Pacific Lutheran for a three-game NWC set that begins with a Friday doubleheader starting at noon. The series wraps up Saturday with a single game, also at noon.