Game 2 Box Score
PORTLAND, Ore. – A hard-fought pitchers’ duel and a dramatic shootout made for an intense day of Northwest Conference baseball in the final league series of the season for both Linfield and George Fox. Late scoring helped the Bruins take both victories as the Wildcats' hopes of a third straight conference championship were laid to rest.
The series, originally scheduled to be played in Newberg, was relocated to Joe Etzel Field on the University of Portland’s campus due to unplayable conditions at George Fox’s Morse Field.
Ryan Larson and Brian Ranta each threw a complete game from the mound, while the offenses of both teams remained relatively quiet. The Wildcats (21-12, 15-8 NWC) could not protect the 1-0 lead they posted in the first inning, failing to score the rest of the game.
The ‘Cats sprinkled five hits off of Ranta, but could not string together consecutive, quality at-bats after the first inning. On the day, Ranta allowed one run on five hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Linfield’s defense fell apart in the seventh, as three consecutive singles aided by two errors allowed George Fox (18-18, 14-9 NWC) to take a 2-1 lead.
The Bruins added one more run for good measure in the ninth. A base hit from Zac Israel plated Derek Blankenship, who had singled earlier in the inning.
Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) had two of Linfield’s five hits, and also recorded a walk in Game 1.
George Fox threatened to score in the third and fourth inning, but both times runners were left on third as Larson battled out of the jams. He totaled five strikeouts on the afternoon.
David Greenstein, Timothy Williams and Jared Chase each had a pair of hits for the Bruins, and Taylor Hunter joined Israel as the only two players for George Fox to drive in a run.
In a repeat of last weekend’s series against Chapman, the Wildcats dropped the second game of the doubleheader on a walk-off error. An RBI triple from Danny Clifford in the bottom of the ninth tied the score at 7-7, putting him in position to score on a passed ball to end the game in shocking fashion.
Neither starting pitcher dominated, although only four of the six runs Robert Vaughn gave up were earned due to three more errors from the Wildcats’ defense. Vaughn lasted only 5 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits while recording three strikeouts.
Taylor Dunn and Connor Harris split the game for George Fox as they pitched 4 2/3 and 4 1/3 innings, respectively. Dunn was knocked from the game in the fifth after allowing seven runs on 11 hits and a walk. Harris earned the win with lockdown pitching, allowing just two hits the rest of the game.
Zach Miller entered the game in the fifth as a defensive replacement, and finished the day going 3-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI double. Chase joined Clifford as the other two Bruins who collected multiple hits in the second game.
Tim Wilson posted three hits and an RBI for the Wildcats, who scored four runs in the third and had run the score up to 7-0 by the middle of the fifth inning. Jordan Harlow, Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.), and Kenny Johnson (Sr., Federal Way, Wash.) each had a pair of hits for Linfield.
'CAT SCRATCH: The ‘Cats have committed 18 errors in their last six games, posting a 2-4 record over that span...Linfield has also been out-hit during that stretch, 53-44...only one Wildcat starter has earned a win dating back to Linfield’s doubleheader victories over Pacific Lutheran on April 6.
NEXT UP: The series wraps up Sunday in Portland, as the ‘Cats look to salvage one game out of the series. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m.