SALEM, Ore. - Trailing by one run heading into the top of the ninth inning, No. 9 Linfield rallied for one run in the ninth followed by the game-winner in the 10th to upend upset-minded Willamette 5-4 Monday afternoon at John Lewis Field.
Monday’s contest came a day after the game was suspended in the top of the sixth inning due to rain. During Sunday’s portion of the game, Willamette (8-6, 3-3 NWC) built a 4-3 going into the start of the sixth inning.
After Linfield (11-4, 5-1 NWC) took a 1-0 lead on a solo home run from Kevin Allan in the top of the second, Willamette answered back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Max Stepan put the Bearcats up 2-1 with a two-RBI double into center field.
The Wildcats took a 3-2 lead in the top of the fourth, as Kevin Coleman and Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) drove in runs.
With the score evened up at three, Stepan gave the Bearcats a 4-3 lead with a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth. Stepan’s blast put Willamette on top prior to the game’s suspension.
After a night to regroup, Linfield’s bats came out cold Monday. Parker Johnson, who took over at the start of Monday’s action for starter Chris Torgerson, retired the first seven Linfield batters he faced.
With the Linfield offense scuffling, Spencer Crepeaux turned in his best performance of the year. Crepeaux pitched the final five innings, giving up no runs on just four hits.
With Linfield trailing by one in the top of the ninth, Allan started the frame with a leadoff double. After a Jesse Boustead sacrifice bunt moved Allan to third, Coleman reached on an error after hitting a one-hopper to second base.
Allan scored on the play, tying the game at four.
Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) got things going for Linfield in the top of the 10th, starting the inning with a double down the left field line. Truex would be thrown out at third tying to advance on a bunt, leaving the Wildcats with Cole Bixenman on first base with one out.
Kyle Chamberlain kept the pressure one, lacing a hit-and-run into center field, advancing Bixenman to second. After Allan flied out to right field, Boustead came to the plate with two outs.
On the first pitch, Boustead hit a ground ball between second and third. Willamette shortstop Doug Bloom fielded the ball in the hole before throwing wide to second base. The ball rolled into right field, allowing Bixenman to score.
The dramatics continued to come in the bottom of the 10th, as Willamette placed runners on second and third to start the inning.
With no outs, Linfield was set to load the bases with an intentional walk. On the third pitch of the sequence, Crepeaux threw over the head of Chamberlain. With the runner trying to score on the wild pitch, Chamberlain recovered in time to throw out the potential tying run at home.
After walking Brandon Chinn to set up a potential double play, Crepeaux induced the game clinching double play.
Chamberlain paced the Wildcats at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Bixenman and Allan each tallied two hits apiece.
NEXT: Linfield hosts Whitman in a Saturday doubleheader at noon.
Two hits in come-from-behind win
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128