Linfield Wildcats
March 29, 2013
No letdown for top-ranked Wildcats in twinbill sweep
Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score
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McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Jake Wylie (Sr., Eagle, Idaho) had the offensive day of the year, hitting two homers and driving in nine total runs as Linfield proved it is worthy of its No. 1 ranking with a doubleheader sweep over visiting Puget Sound Friday afternoon at Roy Helser Field.

Chris Haddeland (Jr., McMinnville, Ore.) threw his first career shutout in Game 1, the fourth complete game by the right-hander in his last five appearances. On the day, Wylie was 3-for-6 with two home runs, nine RBI, two runs scored and an outfield assist.

Tim Wilson went 4-for-10 with an RBI, four runs scored and four stolen bases. Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) also had four hits and drove in a pair of runs on the day. Linfield improved to 20-3 on the season and kept a firm grip on first place in the NWC with a record of 13-1.

Kaulana Smith and Lucas Stone each had three hits for Puget Sound, which fell to 10-15 on the season and 5-6 in NWC play with the losses.

Game 1: Linfield 9, Puget Sound 0
Haddeland earned the complete-game shutout, throwing 126 pitches and allowing six hits and three walks while striking out eight in the lopsided win. The righty improved to 6-1 on the season and brought his ERA down to 0.98.

UPS starter Matt Robinson entered the game with an impressive 1.07 ERA, but was touched up for seven runs – two earned – in five innings pitched.

The ‘Cats looked sharp from the start, as Jordan Harlow charged a slow-roller and threw on the run to get the first out, and Wilson backhanded a hard grounder up the middle and threw to first in time to help Haddeland retire the side in order in the first.

Stone shot the gap in right center with one out in the second to give the Loggers their first base runner of the afternoon. Haddeland retired the next two batters on a groundout and a strikeout to leave the runner stranded and keep the game scoreless.

Stephen Kelsey singled to right in the top of the third, and Wylie ranged to his right to cut off an ensuing hit to left by Connor Savage, which kept the runners at first and second with one out. After Smith worked the count full, Haddeland got the Loggers’ third baseman to ground into an inning-ending double play as Harlow fielded the ball, stepped on third and fired a perfect throw to Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) at first.

Kyle Chamberlain smoked the first pitch he saw from Robinson into center field to get the ‘Cats going in the bottom of the third. A fielder’s choice put runners on the corners, and Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) drew a walk to load the bases with two outs. Nick Fisher (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) brought home the first run of the day with a walk, but Robinson worked out of the jam with a strikeout and the score sat at 1-0.

After Haddeland shut down the Loggers in the fourth, Linfield put together a rally with a UPS error, a base hit and a walk that loaded the bases for Wylie with two outs. The Wildcats’ RBI leader wasted no time in opening up the lead, sending Robinson’s first pitch over the train tracks beyond the left-field fence for a huge grand slam that put Linfield up 5-0.

In the top of the sixth, Harlow made a diving stop on a sharp ground ball to his left and threw out Kelsey to help preserve a string of nine consecutive Loggers set down by Haddeland.

An infield single by Wilson and a walk to Corey VanDomelen (Jr., Tigard, Ore.) drove Robinson from the game, and first baseman Jeff Walton took the mound in the bottom of the sixth. Wylie stepped to the plate, and after Wilson scored on a steal and an error, the Wildcats’ left fielder drove a pitch from Walton to nearly the same location as his first home run. The blast plated VanDomelen and gave the ‘Cats a commanding 8-0 advantage.

JB Eary broke Haddeland’s string in the top of the eighth with a two-out double down the right field line. UPS loaded the bases, but Haddeland got Smith to ground back to the mound to preserve the shutout.

Linfield’s ace got out of another bases-loaded jam in the ninth, and flipped a ground ball to Chamberlain at home to end the game and complete his first career shutout.

Game 2: Linfield 7, Puget Sound 3
Aaron Thomassen (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) threw 5 2/3 innings for the ‘Cats, allowing two runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Justin Huckins (Sr., Bend, Ore.) threw the final 3 1/3 innings with three strikeouts, earning his sixth save of 2013.

Steve Wagar kept the ‘Cats at bay with 6 1/3 solid innings in relief of starter Jarrod Beiser, who couldn’t make it out of the second inning.

Thomassen found himself in an immediate jam as Nickolas Alarcio beat out a slow roller to second, and Christian Carter followed with a double into the right field corner that put two runners in scoring position with one out. An ensuing walk to Smith loaded the bases and Nathan Backes came through with an RBI-single to right field. Thomassen got out of the inning without further harm, but the righty’s pitch count climbed to 29.

Linfield responded in the first, as Wilson led off with an infield single, stole second, and was moved to third on a fielder’s choice groundout by VanDomelen. Wylie drove in his seventh run of the day on a sacrifice fly to right and the score was tied, 1-1.

The ‘Cats continued to play small ball in the second, as Harlow walked and advanced to third on a couple of fielder’s choice groundouts. Chance Laboda (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) came through with a two-out base hit up the middle that scored Harlow and gave Linfield the early 2-1 lead. Wilson tacked on another run with a base hit to center, Wylie added two more with a base hit to left and Linfield went up 5-1.

Wylie wasn’t satisfied with his incredible offensive performance, so the left fielder showed off his arm and threw out Smith when the Loggers’ third baseman tried to go from first to third on a base hit.

Thomassen and Wagar both found their rhythm in the middle innings, as neither team scored in the third through fifth.

UPS threatened in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with three consecutive one-out singles. Thomassen walked Eary with two outs on a 3-2 pitch, and Huckins pitched out of the jam to keep the ‘Cats in front by three runs.

Lindell doubled to the base of the wall in center with one out in the seventh, and two more doubles from Fisher and McClellan gave Linfield two more runs and a comfortable 7-2 lead.

The Loggers put runners on first and second with back-to-back singles in the eighth, and Chamberlain, playing at first base in Game 2, robbed Backes of a hit with a diving backhanded stop on a sharp ground ball to the right side. Nick Funyak drove a ball to the warning track in left for a sacrifice fly, but Huckins got out of the inning without further damage.

Huckins cruised through the Loggers in the ninth, retiring the side in order to finish the game.

‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield extended its stretch of consecutive 20-win seasons to 22 years…the Wildcats entered the series with three of the top five hitters in the NWC: Lindell (.459), Fisher (.427) and Wilson (.425)…Thomassen and Haddeland each have six wins to lead the NWC, rank in the top five in the conference in ERA, at 1.16 and 0.98, respectively… Huckins leads the NWC with six saves…the multi-homer game by Wylie was the first by a single player since Fisher and Lindell each hit two in a 15-3 win over Whitworth on March 24, 2012, a game in which the ‘Cats hit five total home runs.

NEXT UP: Linfield looks to wrap up its fourth NWC sweep of the season as Game 3 of the series is set for noon on Sunday at Roy Helser Field.

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Jake Wylie
Rockets two homers, including grand slam, over left-field fence

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