ANTHEM, Ariz. – After an early hiccup, the Linfield baseball team assured itself of a positive start to the 2012 season with a 6-2 nonconference victory Thursday afternoon over McMurry University at Susan Day O’Connor High School.
The No. 4 Wildcats (1-0) gave up two runs in the top of the first inning, but held the War Hawks (1-6) scoreless the rest of the way and rode a big fifth inning – highlighted by a Zach Boskovich home run – to put the game out of reach.
McMurry got out to a good start, putting its first two batters, Ruben Zendejas and Kory Moench, on base. Zendejas became the first player to cross home plate when Andrew Bell singled. Later in the same inning, Brian Durst grounded out, allowing Moench to score from third and help the War Hawks claim an early 2-0 advantage.
Fortunately, Linfield’s offense was clicking early as well, and quickly tied the game. Leadoff hitter Tim Wilson (Jr., Redmond, Wash.) opened with a single, and three batters later, Clayton Truex (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.) brought him home with an RBI double. Next up was Jake Wylie (Jr., Eagle, Idaho), who singled to score Kramer Lindell (Jr., West Linn, Ore.).
With starting pitchers Ryan Larson and Spencer Smith now warmed up, bats cooled off quickly and the clubs remained deadlocked at 2-2 for the next 2½ innings. Only two players managed to get any hits during that stretch, both from McMurry.
A sacrifice fly by Jesse Boustead broke the stalemate in the bottom of the fourth, paving the way for Boskovich to blow the game open in the next frame. With a runner on second, Boskovich smacked a two-run homer to put the ‘Cats up 5-2. Kyle Chamberlain (Sr., Portland, Ore.) rounded out the scoring with an RBI single.
Defensively, Larson took credit for the first win of the year after recording six strikeouts to just one walk over seven full innings of work. Justin Huckins (Jr., Bend, Ore.) pitched two hitless innings in relief.
Head coach Scott Brosius was pleased with how his team performed in its first test of the season.
“We were solid in all facets of the game,” he said. “We got good production from everyone in the lineup, especially the top of the order. Larson was his usual solid self. After giving up a couple of early runs, he settled down to pitch seven good innings for us. It was a real good performance.”
'CAT SCRATCH: Linfield won its season-opening game for the sixth consecutive year...this was Boskovich's first game since Feb. 18, 2011 against Western Oregon...he missed the rest of the season due to injury.
AHEAD: Linfield plays Claremont Mudd-Scripps at 10:30 a.m. local (mountain) time Friday at Boulder Creek High School.
Two-run homer puts 'Cats up three
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