Game 2 Box Score
FOREST GROVE, Ore. – It was a tale of two Roberts at Chuck Bafaro Field Saturday afternoon, as Pacific’s Rob Dittrick and Linfield’s Robert Vaughn turned in a pair of outstanding pitching performances to carry their teams to one victory apiece in a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader.
The Boxers (4-5, 1-1 NWC) won their NWC opener, 7-1, over the second-ranked Wildcats (7-2, 4-1 NWC) before the visitors tied the three-game series with a 6-3 comeback victory in the second game.
Dittrick (2-1, 3.27 ERA) struck out five Wildcats en route to the complete-game win, and Pacific rode a huge five-run sixth inning to shock the ‘Cats, previously undefeated in league games.
Pitching from both sides dominated early on until a second-inning single by Donnie Bradley brought home Jordan Siu and Michael Arakaki to open the scoring for Pacific.
Linfield starter Zach Manley (Sr., Coburg, Ore.) did his best to keep the game within reach for the ‘Cats. He worked out of a jam in the fourth inning, coaxing a pair of groundballs and a strikeout to strand runners on second and third.
But Dittrick continued to stump the Wildcat offense. Beginning in the fourth inning, he retired eight straight batters until Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) broke the hitless streak with a two-out double in the sixth. Linfield could not cash in on the opportunity, however, as Dittrick struck out the next batter to keep the ‘Cats off the scoreboard.
With one out in the sixth frame, a hit batter sandwiched by two singles loaded the bases for the Boxers, who took full advantage. The next five Pacific batters reached base, and before the inning was over, the home team had extended its lead to 7-0.
Lindell helped Linfield avoid the shutout with a solo home run – his second of the season – in the top of the ninth. After walking Kyle Chamberlain, Dittrick retired the final two Wildcat batters to earn the complete game.
Chad Fahey went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI for the Boxers as teammate Bradley collected four RBI on two hits.
Spotty defense contributed to the Wildcats’ collapse, including a key error that helped Pacific notch its first two runs of the game.
A hard-fought come-from-behind victory ended an unusually long day for the Wildcats on a positive note. Linfield’s bats finally came alive in Game 2, allowing the ‘Cats to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time in 2012.
After entering the game midway through the fourth inning with his team down 3-0, Vaughn (1-1, 3.46 ERA) posted six shutout innings of relief to earn his first win of the season. Tim Wilson had three hits and two stolen bases for the ‘Cats, and Chamberlain and Kevin Allan each contributed two hits and two RBI.
The back end of the doubleheader started much like the first game, with both teams posting harmless hits over the first two innings. Again, the Boxers struck first, stinging Linfield starter Zach Brandon (Sr., Cottage Grove, Ore.) for five consecutive hits in a three-run third inning.
But unlike in the first game, Linfield had a response for Pacific this time around, posting a three spot of its own in the top of the fourth. A two-run double from Kevin Allan and an RBI single from Kenny Johnson (Sr., Federal Way, Wash.) got the ‘Cats back in the game, knotting it at 3-3.
The Wildcats took their first lead of the day in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Jesse Boustead. After consecutive hit batters in the bottom of the sixth, Vaughn retired the next two batters to escape the inning unharmed.
Another Wildcat rally brewed in the eighth as Linfield loaded the bases for Chamberlain, who drew a walk. That pushed the Wildcats’ lead to three runs, which proved to be enough of a cushion for Vaughn to close out the game.
Jared Van Hoon paced Pacific in the second game, hitting 2-for-3 with two RBI, one run scored and two doubles.
AHEAD: The ‘Cats finish up the three-game set Sunday with a scheduled start time of noon at Chuck Bafaro Field in Forest Grove. Linfield hands the ball to ace Ryan Larson in hopes of taking the series, two games to one.
Six strikeouts, zero runs in Game 2
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