Abilene Regional Website
ABILENE, Texas – With their backs against the wall, the No. 5 Linfield Wildcats bounced back from an opening-round loss and added at least one more contest to the 2011 schedule by winning an elimination game against Texas-Tyler 6-3 Thursday afternoon in the second round of the NCAA Division III Baseball Abilene Regional at Walt Driggers Field.
With the victory, the top-seeded ‘Cats (32-10) eliminated the fifth-seeded Patriots (33-8) from the postseason. Linfield plays again at 1:30 p.m. PDT Friday against Trinity (Texas).
“Everybody hits” was the battle cry in the dugout, and the Wildcats delivered. In the first inning, Linfield went through the entire lineup as eight batters got a hit or at least advanced a runner.
Eric Evenson started things off with an infield single and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dustin Smith. Evenson made his way to third after a single by Tim Wilson (Jr., Redmond, Wash.) and finally crossed home plate thanks to an RBI single by Cole Bixenman.
A single by Nate McClellan (Jr., Shoreline, Wash.), a two-RBI double by Clayton Truex (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.) and one more single by Kevin Coleman drove home three more runs and ‘Cats took an early 5-0 lead.
With Zach Manley (Sr., Coburg, Ore.) on the mound, the Linfield defense held the Patriots scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI ground out by centerfielder Jake Ashley. Manley went 4 1/3 innings, striking out five batters and walking four.
The Patriots scored two more runs over the final five innings but never seriously threatened the lead.
Though the Wildcat bats were relatively quiet compared to the first inning, Linfield still managed to put up one more run for good measure in the top of the seventh off an RBI single by McClellan.
Rookies came through in a big way on offense: Wilson went 4-for-5 and McClellan and Truex each went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.
On defense, the ‘Cats considerably cut down on their mistakes from the previous game, committing only one error. In one of the biggest plays of the game, catcher Kyle Chamberlain (Sr., Portland, Ore.) saved a run in the bottom of the sixth when he tagged the runner out at home.
Evan Hilberg earned the save after pitching the final 3 1/3 innings and Casey Cameron picked up the win to improve to 2-1 on the season.
For Texas-Tyler, third baseman T.J. Martin went 3-for-4 and second baseman Jordan Vierra hit 3-for-5 with one RBI. Starting pitcher Matt Schimpf went six innings in the loss, giving up eight hits and five earned runs.
‘CAT SCRATCH: This was the first-ever meeting between Linfield and Texas-Tyler in baseball…15 different Wildcats saw action in the game…the Patriots ended their season on a four-game losing streak…weather was partly cloudy and humid...temperature at the start of the game was 85 degrees and crept into the low-90s.
Hits 2-for-4 with two RBI
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