Game 2 Box Score
PORTLAND, Ore. – An impressive road sweep of Lewis & Clark on Sunday vaulted the 12th-ranked Linfield Wildcats into a familiar position – first place in the Northwest Conference standings.
The Wildcats (6-2, 6-2 NWC) blanked the Pioneers during both ends of a doubleheader at Huston Sports Complex, leapfrogging Lewis & Clark (10-6, 5-3 NWC) into the top spot after two weekends of conference play. Sharing second place with L&C are the George Fox Bruins who won twice at Puget Sound, the Pacific Boxers, who swept Willamette, and preseason favorite Pacific Lutheran, which split a Sunday doubleheader at Whitworth to fall one game back of the pace. All four clubs sit at 5-3 in the conference standings.
Haylie Watson clubbed a home run and Karina Paavola and Shelby VandeBergh each earned their second pitching victories of the weekend as the Wildcats shutout the Pioneers 8-0 and 6-0. The first game was truncated to five runs by the eight-run rule.
Paavola and reliever Maddy Dunn (Jr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) combined for a one-hit shutout, limiting the Pioneers to just one base runner in the second inning. Together the two Linfield pitchers struck out five batters without yielding a walk.
The Wildcats scored in every inning but the fourth, getting a three-run burst in the third to jump in front 6-0. That inning included RBI triple by Garcia and a run-scoring single from Watson.
Garcia went 2 for 3 and scored twice, part of a 10-hit onslaught by the Wildcats. Erin Carson (Sr., Camas, Wash.) also drove in a pair of runs.
Leadoff hitter Grace Middelstadt (Sr., Battle Ground, Wash.) enjoyed a pair of hits, including a double, and stole two bases to spark the ‘Cats to the second shutout.
Karleigh Prestianni and Lisa Yamamoto (Sr., Carson City, Nev.) also had two hits for Linfield, which again outhit L&C by a 10-1 margin.
VandeBergh and Montana McNealy (Sr., Aloha, Ore.) teamed for a seven-inning blanking of the Pioneers. Together they combined for 11 strikeouts, seven by the hard-throwing McNealy, who held L&C without a hit or walk across the final three innings.
NEXT: Linfield packs its bags for Columbus, Georgia, where the Wildcats will compete in the prestigious NFCA Leadoff Classic. The tournament features a Who’s Who of top tier Division III programs. Linfield meets Ithaca (N.Y.) Friday at 7 a.m. Pacific time. Later the same day, the ‘Cats oppose Gustavas Adolphus at 9:30. Ithaca is ranked No. 21 in the most recent NFCA poll.