NCAA Division III Record Book
TACOMA, Wash. – Continuing its assault on the school and NCAA record books, top-ranked Linfield pounded six home runs in five innings on its way to 11-1 thrashing of Puget Sound in a makeup Northwest Conference softball game Tuesday afternoon on the UPS diamond.
Wildcats All-American Emilee Lepp hammered her 24th home run of the season on her first at-bat, equaling the NCAA Division III single-season record held by Mandy Carnes of Muskingum.
One of the hottest hitters in Division III, Lepp has homered in each of her last three games and has launched seven roundtrippers over the last eight contests.
As if Lepp’s milestone weren’t enough for one outing, the heavy hitting Wildcats boosted their season home run total to 80, eclipsing the program’s own Division III team record of 78 set last season. Amazingly, this year's Linfield team needed 13 fewer games to reach the lofty perch.
Now 34-2 on the season with one NWC series remaining, Linfield can clinch at least a share of its eighth straight title by defeating Pacific once in the two teams’ upcoming four-game series. The Wildcats are 23-1 in conference play and can equal the program record for fewest conference losses in a season (1) with a sweep of the Boxers.
Puget Sound posed little threat to Linfield on Tuesday as the visitors blasted home runs in two of their first three at-bats. Jaydee Baxter hit her sixth home run of the season, followed by Lepp’s record-tying blast and the Wildcats led 2-0 before the game was even five minutes old.
Lepp, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI, added a two-run single in the second inning as the 'Cats built a 5-0 lead in the early going.
In all, five Wildcats connected for home runs, including two long balls by Emily Keagbine in the second and third innings. Jordan Mixsell delivered the record-setting ball to break the NCAA single-season team standard in the fifth, just moments before Ashley Garcia (Sr., Beaveton, Ore.) completed the scoring with a two-run homer of her own.
Linfield pitchers Claire Velaski, Lauren Harvey and Karina Paavola (Sr., Kelso, Wash.) combined to throw a three-hitter. Harvey and Paavola struck out five of the last six UPS batters for good measure. Harvey was credited with the victory to improve to 11-0 for the season.
AHEAD: Linfield heads to Pacific Saturday with the chance to lock up the NWC regular-season title as well as home-field advantage in the upcoming four-team NWC playoff tournament. Saturday’s doubleheader starts at noon at Sherman-Larkins Stadium in Forest Grove. The teams then play a Sunday twinbill at Linfield. Five Wildcat seniors will be honored before the first pitch Sunday: Velaski, Keagbine, Kayla Hubrich, Alex Hartmann and Elise Karscig.
Party at home plate
80 homers and counting
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128