Game 2 Box Score
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Northwest Conference rivals Linfield and Willamette took turns shutting one another out on the scoreboard but it was the top-ranked and eight-time champion Wildcats who had the last laugh Saturday at Del Smith Stadium.
Celebrating Senior Day, Linfield (33-3, 23-3 NWC) moved within one victory of clinching at least a share of its ninth consecutive NWC crown.
Riding the pitching mastery of senior ace Alex Watilo to a 2-0 victory in the opener, Willamette (19-10, 18-6 NWC) snapped Linfield’s 20-game win streak. The Wildcats countered with an 8-0 five-inning blanking of the Bearcats in the nightcap.
Watilo spun a complete-game two-hitter and the Bearcats swatted eight hits on Linfield pitchers Lauren Harvey and Karina Paavola.
The game was as scoreless stalemate until the sixth inning. Von Trapp singled to lead off the inning, then scooted to second base on a fielder’s choice. WU freshman Theresa Martin then delivered a double up the middle off of Harvey that scored Von Trapp and Mica Romero added an insurance run moments later with a run-scoring double of her own.
The Wildcats’ best chance to pull the game out of the fire came in the seventh. Karleigh Prestianni singled through the left-side of the infield, then moved over to second on a fielder’s choice.
Haylie Watson drew a walk from Watilo to put two runners aboard, but Jordan Mixsell flew out to Nichole Robertson in right field to end the game.
Von Trapp and Martin each had two hits in the contest. Prestianni and Emilee Lepp accounted for Linfield’s only hits.
Watilo struck out three Wildcats and walked three to earn the win, improving to 13-4. Harvey (14-2) suffered only her second loss in two seasons.
Paavola relieved Harvey after things unraveled in the sixth, striking out three of the five batters she faced.
Willamette confined Linfield to just six hits, but the Wildcats cashed in on nine walks and a wild pitch to capture the abbreviated second game.
Paavola (17-1) handcuffed the Bearcats to just two hits across four innings, striking out five while issuing a couple of walks. Shelby VandeBergh closed the game, pitching the final inning.
Garcia went 2-for-2 while Lepp and Staci Doucette each picked up a pair of RBI.
The Bearcats loaded the bases with one out on Paavola to begin the nightcap but some crafty defense by the Wildcats kept the game scoreless. Kelli Snyder swatted the ball high to the left field for the second out, and Heather Winslow headed home for an apparent run. But catcher Emilee Lepp fired the ball to third where Winslow was ruled out on the play for leaving early.
Linfield put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the first and Jaydee Baxter eventually scored on a wild pitch by Hayley Glanz.
The Wildcats made it 2-0 on a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by Prestianni that scored Katy Brosig. Three consecutive walks by Glantz sent another run across and the Wildcats led 3-0 heading to the second.
Linfield pocketed five more runs in the third as Lepp pounded a two-run double and Doucette followed it up with a two-run single to left field.
Glantz (7-7) suffered the loss, allowing nine walks, six hits and eight runs, seven of them earned.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The stands at Del Smith Stadium was overflowing with parents, fans and softball alumni . . . six Linfield seniors were honored in pre-game ceremonies, including Lepp, Doucette, Mixsell, Harvey and Baxter, plus early graduate Sami Keim, a three-year letterwinner who is now head softball coach at her alma mater, Corvallis High School. . . Lepp and Doucette each set reached milestones in Saturday’s twinbill, equaling a school record with their 184th career starts. . . the Wildcats went without a home run against the Bearcats. . . Paavola earned her 25th career victory and is 25-2 over two seasons. . . Harvey pitched in her 80th career game and is 48-4 across four seasons. . . before Saturday’s loss, Linfield had defeated Willamette 10 straight times. . . the class of 2012 has thus far compiled a four-season win-loss record of 165-19, including a 103-7 mark in conference play.
NEXT: The teams complete their four-game series at noon Sunday on the Willamette diamond. Linfield needs two wins to lock up home field advantage in the four-team NWC playoff tournament, which runs Saturday and Sunday.