Game 1 Box Score
Game 2 Box Score
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – No. 1 Linfield got the best of a matchup between the top two softball clubs in the Northwest Conference, defeating Pacific Lutheran three times on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the Linfield softball field.
The ‘Cats (24-2, 13-1 NWC) opened the day with a 9-4 victory in the conclusion of a game against the Lutes (13-7, 12-4 NWC) that was suspended three weeks prior.
Linfield then won the first game of the regularly scheduled doubleheader in a thrilling finish by a score of 7-6 and ended the busy afternoon with a 6-3 win to complete the sweep.
With the wins, the ‘Cats also stole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference from the Lutes.
CONTINUATION OF SUSPENDED GAME
Linfield held a 6-3 lead at the top of the fifth inning after the game in Tacoma was suspended due to darkness back on March 12.
The Lutes cut the margin to two in the bottom of the fifth when Kaaren Hatlen doubled to score a runner from second.
But the Wildcats answered right back. After pinch-hitter Ashley Garcia (Sr., Beaveton, Ore.) registered an RBI single, Jaydee Baxter doubled to center field to score two runners and put the game out of reach.
Linfield closed with great defense, getting three straight outs in the final inning to secure the 9-4 win. Lauren Harvey earned her eighth win of the season, giving up four hits in four innings of work.
Offensively, Baxter went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, Emilee Lepp hit 1-for-3 with 3 RBI and one home run and Staci Doucette was 2-for-3 with 3 RBI.
After two scoreless innings to open the game, the ‘Cats got on the board first when a pop fly from Lepp dropped between the second baseman and center fielder with the bases loaded, allowing Hubrich to score. Lutes pitcher Stacey Hagensen then gave up three-run homer to the slugger Doucette.
Facing a 3-0 deficit, PLU scored once in the fourth inning and then exploded for five runs in the fifth. Kaely Cuthill started things off with a double to center field that scored two runners. Next at the plate was Hagensen, who threaded a single past the second baseman to score one and knot the score at 4-4. Katie Lowery popped up a base hit that dropped in front of a diving Baxter to score twice more.
Linfield turned to pinch hitter Haylie Watson (Sr., Puyallup, Wash.) to make a big play. She hit a double off the left field fence to score two runners and tie the game at 6-6.
After Paavola and the Linfield defense held the Lutes scoreless in the top of the seventh, it was time for one of the nation's top scoring teams to find some more magic.
Alex Hartmann stepped to the plate with the bases loaded after the home team got a base hit, sacrifice bunt and two intentional walks. Her bunt dropped right in front of home plate, but a speedy Lepp was able to slide past the catcher to score the winning run.
Paavola earned the win, her fifth of the year, after striking out five batters and surrendering just two hits in 2 1/3 innings.
Getting the loss was Hagensen, who pitched a complete game, giving up 12 hits and walking four. She also went 2-for-4 with two RBI, including a solo home run.
Lepp finished the game with a 3-for-4 output and Karleigh Prestianni was 2-for-3.
The ‘Cats opened the second half of the doubleheader with back-to-back three-run innings.
Lepp, Prestianni and Hartmann all registered RBIs in the first inning to as the Wildcats took a 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, Doucette blasted her second home run of the afternoon, a three-run shot over the center field fence.
Linfield’s bats were quiet for the rest of the game. Pacific Lutheran threatened the lead, scoring once in the fifth and twice in the final inning, but the Wildcat defense held strong.
Claire Velaski pitched a complete game, giving up nine hits while striking out nine over six innings.
Doucette went 2-for-3 with three RBI and Hubrich was 3-for-3 with two runs scored.
NEXT: Linfield continues its homestand Sunday with a tripleheader against Puget Sound. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.
Provides game-winning bunt
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128