ANTHEM, Ariz. – Linfield wrapped up its trip to the Arizona Desert Classic on a positive note Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 nonconference baseball victory over Cal Lutheran at Boulder Creek High School.
The fourth-ranked Wildcats (3-1) scored once in the second inning, twice in the sixth and held off a late rally by the Kingsmen (6-3) to finish the tournament with a 3-1 record.
Zach Manley (Sr., Coburg, Ore.) pitched six scoreless innings on the mound, notching seven strikeouts to just a single walk. Spencer Crepeaux went for 2 1/3 innings in relief before Garett Speyer (Sr., Vancouver, Wash.) came in to earn the final two outs and the save.
“We got gritty performances all the way around from each of three of our pitchers in what was a very tight ball game,” said head coach Scott Brosius. “We also had a couple of key two-out hits from Boustead and Allan and another home run from Boskovich. And those plays were what made the difference in the game.”
With no score, two outs and a runner on first in the top of the second, Jesse Boustead singled to push Kevin Allan into scoring position. Kyle Chamberlain followed up with a single of his own, a play that brought Allan home from second.
Both defenses remained on lockdown for the next several innings, giving up just one hit combined: a single by CLU’s Nick Boggan.
On cue, Zach Boskovich hit a solo homer in the top of the sixth inning to increase the Wildcats’ lead to 2-0. A couple of batters later, Allan hit an RBI single to score Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.), who had been by a pitch then stolen second.
Shaky eighth-inning defense allowed Cal Lutheran to crawl back into the game. Iggy Wagner and Boggan both reached base on fielding errors by the Wildcats. The latter play scored a runner from third, and Wagner scored when the next Kingsman to approach the plate, Trevor Koons, hit a single.
With their lead in jeopardy, the Wildcats pulled it together long enough to get the final two outs in straight succession, leaving two CLU runners stranded in the process. Linfield then got three straight outs in the ninth frame to secure the victory.
Boskovich finished the day hitting 2-for-4. Allan, Boustead and Chamberlain were the only other players to tally hits on a relatively quiet afternoon offensively.
Cal Lutheran’s five hits came from five different players. John LaMoure started the day on the mound and gave up all three runs before being relieved by Minnich.
Plenty was gained from the preseason tournament as Linfield jumps right into the regular season.
“Overall, we’re bringing home a lot more positives than negatives from our opening weekend,” Brosius said. “We pitched the ball well, played solid defense, and outside of one big breakout performance, we had to battle offensively. We’re hopeful the lineup is going to continue to improve. It was nice to see us have to work hard to pull out a couple of close wins.”
'CAT SCRATCH: Linfield is now 14-2 at the Arizona Desert Classic since 2007...Boskovich has three home runs through four games...Manley's seven strikeouts were a season-high for the Wildcat pitching staff.
COMING UP: Northwest Conference action kicks off this weekend when the Wildcats host Lewis & Clark for a three- game series at Roy Helser Field. Saturday’s doubleheader begins at 11 a.m. while Sunday’s single game is set for a noon start.
RBI single scores Linfield's final run
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