PELLA, Iowa – Claire Velaski pitched a one-hit shutout, Linfield swatted three home runs and the No. 1 Wildcats bounced the Anderson (Ind.) Ravens 10-0 in six innings in the first round Thursday of the NCAA Division III Pella Regional, hosted by Central College at Kuyper Athletic Complex.
In winning their 31st straight game, the Wildcats (42-2) move on to face Washington-St. Louis Friday at noon Pacific time. Fontbonne, which lost 3-2 to Wash U., faces Anderson (28-14) in an elimination game Friday morning.
The tournament's opening game began as a pitchers’ duel before a five-run fifth inning by the Wildcats turned it into a romp. Hitting second in the order, Jaydee Baxter launched a first-inning solo homer off Ravens star pitcher Monica Crowe, putting Linfield in front quickly, 1-0.
A sacrifice RBI by Emilee Lepp in the third plated another Linfield run. Crowe appeared to be settling down with a pair of strikeouts in the fourth before the wheels came off in the fifth.
Jordan Mixsell delivered a leadoff double to center field. Baxter was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a wild pitch. Then Wildcats slugger Staci Doucette took her turn at the plate, splattering a three-run homer over the left-field wall to make it 5-0. Ashley Garcia (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.) added to the Ravens’ misery with a bases-loaded single that scored two more runs.
Velaski took a no-hitter into the sixth, but a bunt single by Amy Wuestefeld provided the only blemish on the senior lefthander’s otherwise effective day. Velaski finished with six strikeouts while recording her third shutout and 20th victory of the season.
Lepp ended the game moments later, extending her NCAA single-season home runs record to 28 with a walkoff blast that also scored Baxter and Kayla Hubrich.
Baxter and Doucette each had multiple hits. Lepp drove home four runs to push her school-record total to 86.
Crowe allowed four hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. She took the loss to fall to 13-6 for the season.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield pushed its NCAA single-season home runs record to 90. . . both Lepp and Doucette surpassed Linfield’s career record for runs batted in during the same game. . . going into the contest, Amanda Attleberger (2005-08) held the record of 178 RBIs. . . Doucette raised her total to 181 and Lepp stands at 180 . . . a strong thunderstorm, featuring bold flashes of thunder and lightning, moved through the Des Moines area Wednesday night but by morning, clearer skies prevailed and temperatures at game time were in the low 70s. . . Friday's Linfield-Wash. U. game pits the two finalists of the 2007 NCAA Division III championship.
Wildcats limit Ravens to one hit
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