ANTHEM, Ariz. – Linfield had no trouble finding offense in just the second game of the season, scorching Concordia (Texas) for 17 runs in a 17-4 victory Friday afternoon at the Arizona Classic tournament.
The Wildcat defense also held in check the Tornado offense, which had scored 13 runs over Pacific Lutheran on Thursday. With the win, Linfield improves to 2-0 on the season as Concordia evens its record at 1-1.
The ‘Cats lit up Concordia early, scoring six runs in just two innings. The first score came at the top of the first inning when Cole Bixenman singled to score Eric Evenson. The very next batter, Kyle Chamberlain (Sr., Portland, Ore.), grounded out to the shortstop, allowing Zach Boskovich to score.
At the top of the second, Danny Urness stole third and then scored on a Jesse Boustead single. Two batters later, it was Evenson with an RBI, hitting a single to bring home Dustin Smith.
The Tornadoes replaced starting pitcher John Russell with Ryan Ullmann, but the move did not immediately bring change for the better. A mishandled ball by the Tornadoes’ second baseman allowed two more runners to score. Chamberlain, who got a double out of the play, was credited with two more RBIs.
Concordia finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third with a leadoff home run by Nick Kozole.
But Linfield struck right back, quickly extending the lead to eight in the fourth. In a great offensive inning that saw eight Wildcats appear at the plate, Boskovich, Chamberlain and Coleman registered RBIs, all coming off singles.
Most of the Linfield starters were replaced midway through the game to give the backups plenty of playing time early in the season.
The Tornadoes scored again in the bottom of the seventh inning when Kyle Bieschke reached second base on an error, allowing Collin Janss to score.
Linfield poured it on in the eighth inning, adding six more runs to its total. Kenny Johnson (Jr., Federal Way, Wash.) started things off, hitting a single with the bases loaded to allow Bixenman to score. A walk by Boustead, a single by Smith, an error by the Tornadoes and a double from Ryan Larson scored five more runs for the ‘Cats.
Concordia picked up two more runs in the eighth inning, thanks to a single by Janss that brought home two runners.
The ‘Cats also added two more runs in the final inning when Smith hit a double to score Boustead and Clayton Truex (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.).
Chris Mueller, making his first start for the Wildcats, picked up the win. He surrendered just three hits in six innings of work. Casey Cameron relieved him, pitching for two innings before Garett Speyer (Jr., Vancouver, Wash.) finished the game.
Johns registered the loss for the Tornadoes, who played five different pitchers in the game.
As a team, Linfield outhit Concordia 17-7. Smith was 4-for-6, Evenson went 3-for-3, Boskovich hit 2-for-3 and Bixenman had a 2-for-4 showing. The four combined for six RBIs. Chamberlain was credited with a game-high 4 RBIs.
NEXT: The Wildcats face Cal Lutheran Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Pacific time in the third game of the Arizona Classic. The Kingsmen (1-3) have dropped both games at the tournament, losing 10-6 to George Fox and 5-2 to Pacific Lutheran.
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