Linfield Wildcats
March 19, 2017
Pitchers rack up 30 strikeouts in sweep
Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield's pitching staff combined for 30 strikeouts, the lineup sent four balls over the fence and the Wildcats took a doubleheader from Lewis & Clark by scores of 3-1 and 10-5 on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Roy Helser Field.
 
Cason Cunningham (So., Eugene, Ore.) earned the Game 1 pitching victory and Scott Hilpert (Sr., Spokane Valley, Wash.) had a home run as part of a four-hit afternoon. The Wildcats improved to 10-7 overall and 8-5 in Northwest Conference action, dropping the Pioneers to 4-14 on the season and 3-5 against league opponents.
 
GAME 1: Linfield 3, Lewis & Clark 1
Cunningham retired 11 straight as part of a 14-strikeout performance, his second straight double-digit tally. The sophomore southpaw yielded just one baserunner through five and retired 11 straight through the middle innings to pick up his third victory of the year.
 
Helped in part by a two-out error that allowed two to score, Linfield posted a three-run second to seize the early lead. Levi Horner-Villa (Fr., Hoolehua, Hawaii) and Ryan Ross (Jr., Yakima, Wash.) supplied consecutive leadoff singles to set the stage, and Alex Hendra-Brown (Jr., Victoria, B.C.) followed up a wild pitch with an RBI base hit to plate the first run of the game.
 
Jake Gellos (Jr., Tualatin, Ore.) laid down a bunt to sacrifice two runners one base each, and both scored when Brady Rediger (Jr., Salem, Ore.) reached on an error by Lewis & Clark's third baseman, pushing Linfield's advantage to 3-0.
 
The Pioneers got two free bases on a hit batter and walk to start the sixth, and Conner Sick capitalized for Lewis & Clark on an outfield single that eluded Linfield's center fielder.
 
Ross had two of seven hits for the Wildcats, who left 10 runners stranded and twice were called for interference in a tense, and at times controversial, series opener. Matt Strang (Jr., Tillamook, Ore.) piched the final four outs to earn the save.
 
L&C starter Drake Gilliland took the loss, while Sick, Cooper Larson and Connor Eggleston registered the visitors' only hits.
 
GAME 2: Linfield 10, Lewis & Clark 5
Scott Hilpert (Sr., Spokane Valley, Wash.), Levi Horner-Villa (Fr., Hoolehua, Hawaii), Daniel Zavala (Jr., Salem, Ore.) and Ryan Pladson (Sr., Sammamish, Wash.) all sent balls over the fence as Linfield gave its pitchers plenty of support at the plate to complete the doubleheader sweep.
 
Newman registered a career-high 11 strikeouts in 4.2 innings, while Cal Neely (Jr., Bellevue, Wash.) earned the victory in 2.1 relief innings.
 
Hilpert launched his team-leading sixth home run to the center-field hitter's eye in the first, and Horner-Villa sent the first pitch he saw from Pioneer starter Robert Reaser over the left-field fence to double Linfield's advantage to 2-0 in the bottom of the second.
 
Linfield's starter worked out of a serious jam in the first. Matt Donovan and Sick sparked the offense with back-to-back singles, and a walk loaded the bases. But Newman registered his first of 11 strikeouts and then coaxed Lockwood into a groundout to end the threat.
 
Jared Evans (So., Medford, Ore.) attempted to keep the offense churning, drilling a a two-out grounder down the right-field line, but Reaser coaxed Joey Cassano (Jr., Auburn, Wash.) into a groundout to end the inning.
 
Daniel Zavala (Jr., Salem, Ore.) ended a brief scoreless interlude with his second collegiate home run, a solo shot over the right-field fence in the fourth.
 
Linfield's 3-0 evaporated in the fifth as Lewis & Clark finally got to Newman, nearly batting around and quickly loading the bases before scoring three times on a fielder's choice and RBI singles from Sean Shepherd and Lockwood.
 
Linfield regained the lead on a Ryan Pladson (Sr., Sammamish, Wash.) RBI single in the fifth, and pulled ahead 6-3 in the sixth. Jared Evans (So., Medford, Ore.) sent his second double of the game to left field, Rediger followed up with a single and Hilpert plopped a base hit into center field to plate both runners and give the Wildcats a three-run cushion. Pladson's two-run homer extended both the sixth inning and Linfield's advantage, now at 9-3.  
 
Loading the bases in the bottom of the eight, Linfield scored twice more on a hit-by-pitch and Ross' RBI single to left.
 
Dylan Peters (Jr., Yakima, Wash.) struck out two to end the game, earning the save.
 
AHEAD: Linfield and Lewis & Clark resume action Monday afternoon with a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m. The first game is the third of the NWC series, while the second is a nonleague makeup game from the rained-out opening weekend. 
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