Game 2 Box Score
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Looking more like a nine-time champion, the Linfield Wildcats outhit and outpitched their Northwest Conference rivals, the Pacific Boxers, 3-0 and 9-1, in a twinbill Saturday at Linfield’s Del Smith Stadium. The second game was abbreviated to five innings by the eight-run rule.
Wildcats senior Megan Wallo had four hits - three of them doubles – and Linfield pitchers confined Pacific to six total hits. Linfield (4-2, 4-2 NWC), accustomed in recent seasons to lopsided victories, struggled under the weight of its reputation in last week’s season opening series with Whitworth.
Against Pacific, the Wildcats looked much more comfortable, getting contributions up and down the lineup, plus a dominating pitching performance from All-American Karina Paavola.
With the losses, Pacific (6-8, 3-3 NWC) dropped out of a tie for first place in the NWC standings. The Wildcats remained in a tie for second place with Pacific Lutheran. Both clubs trail early season frontrunner Lewis & Clark.
Paavola struck out 10 Boxers on her way to a two-hit shutout, and Wallo doubled twice and drove home a pair of runs, sending the Wildcats to the victory in the opener.
Pacific’s most serious threat of the afternoon came in the top of the second inning when the Boxers capitalized on two walks by Paavola to load the bases with one out. But the powerful righthander worked her way out of the jam, striking out Kaitlyn Shikada and coaxing Kiera Melton to pop up to end the inning.
Linfield pushed all three of its runs across in the third frame. A double to center field by Wallo scored McKenna Spieth (Sr., Vancouver, Wash.) and Erin Carson (Sr., Camas, Wash.) for a 2-0 Linfield lead. Then Karleigh Prestianni tapped a sacrifice to right field that plated Grace Middelstadt (Sr., Battle Ground, Wash.).
Carson, the No. 8 hitter, went 2 for 2 and Spieth, batting ninth, picked up Linfield’s other hit.
Kylee Oshiro picked up both of Pacific’s base hits.
Boxers starter Chloe Hanson (0-2) absorbed the loss, allowing three hits and two walks while recording just one strikeout.
The Wildcats batted through the order in a seven-run third inning, overwhelming the Boxers in the nightcap.
Ashley Garcia smacked a two-run home run in the second inning, her first of the season, one of her two hits in the game. Wallo also contributed a single and a double for the ‘Cats, who outhit the Boxers 10-4.
Shelby VandeBergh and Montana McNealy (Sr., Aloha, Ore.) combined to hold the Boxers to four hits and one run. VandeBergh earned the win to even her record at 2-2. She struck out three Boxers and scattered four hits. McNealy came on in relief to begin the fifth, striking out all three batters she face.
Pacific starter Jenn Yano (2-4) suffered the loss, giving up five hits, six earned runs and a pair of walks in just 2 2/3 innings of action. Neither Yano, nor reliever Sara Aasness, logged a strikeout in the game.
Becca Moen, Marissa Reichard, Quirena Natividad, and Kylee Yamamoto were credited with hits for the Boxers.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Saturday’s second game was a quick one hour and 13 minutes. . . Paavola picked up her 28th career pitching victory against just two losses…she surpassed 200 career strikeouts, raising her three-season total to 212. . . the Wildcats have won 15 straight contests over the Boxers.
COMING UP: Linfield heads to Portland for a Sunday doubleheader at Lewis & Clark. First pitch is set for noon.