ANTHEM, Ariz. – Sul Ross State was the unfortunate victim of a determined Linfield baseball team out to make amends after a disappointing loss the previous afternoon. The fourth-ranked Wildcats drubbed the Lobos 21-2 on the third day of the Arizona Desert Classic Saturday morning at Sandra Day O’Conner High School.
The ‘Cats (2-1) held a slim 3-2 lead after three innings, but exploded for a combined 18 runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh frames to blow the Lobos (1-10) away. Eleven different players registered hits and Zach Brandon (Jr., Cottage Grove, Ore.) picked up his first win of the year after pitching five solid innings on the mound.
“From 1 through 9 in the lineup, we swung the bats real well today,” said head coach Scott Brosius. “There were a lot of hard-hit balls and we showed great patience at the plate. It was a very good offensive day against a team that was struggling on the mound a little bit.”
Linfield put two quick runs on the board on a pair of RBI singles by Clayton Truex (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.) and Jake Wylie (Jr., Eagle, Idaho). The ‘Cats added pushed their lead to three in the third, but Sul Ross State responded with a two-run bottom of the inning.
The Lobos’ first run came courtesy of a Dakota Hill double. The designated hitter wound up getting three bases out of the play on the throw, which allowed Josh Vasquez to score from first.
Zach Boskovich got the Wildcat offense rolling again in the top of the fifth, sparking the first of three huge innings for Linfield. The second batter up, Boskovich hit a two-run homer - his second in three games - and Kevin Allan soon followed with an RBI single.
Once the Linfield bats heated up, there was no stopping them.
The ‘Cats went through the entire batting order to score six runs in the sixth inning, and 1½ times around in the seventh, scoring a whopping nine times. One of the biggest plays came in the bottom of the seventh, when Nick Fisher (Jr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) hit a triple that brought home two runners.
Clayton Truex (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.) hit 2-for-4 with four RBI while Ryan Larson was a perfect 3-for-3 in his offensive appearance of the season.
Kyle Chamberlain (Sr., Portland, Ore.) had seven at-bats, registering four hits, and Kramer Lindell (Jr., West Linn, Ore.) hit 3-for-5.
Not to be overlooked by the productive offense was a dynamite pitching effort, as the ‘Cats limited the Lobo offense to eight hits and two runs the entire afternoon. Brandon threw for five innings with three strikeouts and five hits before being relieved by Jacob Nolte and Chris Haddeland (Soph., McMinnville, Ore.). The latter two held the Lobos scoreless while allowing just three combined hits.
“Brandon gave us five really good innings on the mound,” Brosius said. “There were two long innings when we scored a lot of runs that probably shortened his day. Overall, Zach had very good command of his pitches. Both Nolte and Haddeland came in and were lights out in relief.”
Vasquez and Andy Silcox led Sul Ross State with two hits each. Starting pitcher Jay Croft gave up 13 hits in six innings, failing to record a single strikeout while walking four batters.
COMING UP: Linfield wraps up its Arizona trip with a matchup against West Region foe Cal Lutheran. Game time is set for 10 a.m. local time.
Hits 2-for-4 with 4 RBI
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