FOREST GROVE, Ore. - Pacific's Jared Van Hoon capped a rollercoaster Northwest Conference game with a single swing of the bat, driving in the tying and go-ahead runs for the Boxers, who stunned second-ranked Linfield 7-6 in a thrilling series finale Sunday at Chuck Barfaro Field.
Linfield (7-3, 4-2 NWC) established a lead early before Pacific (5-5, 2-1 NWC) displayed true grit and fought back to earn its second NWC win of the series.
Wildcats all-star Tim Wilson (Jr., Redmond, Wash.) led off with a single for the third consecutive game, and the Linfield bats came alive early. A sacrifice fly from Zach Boskovich plated a run in the first for Linfield.
Pacific struck back in the second, playing small ball to advance runners to second and third. Jordan Siu followed up with a two-run single, giving an early edge to the Boxers.
Linfield starter Ryan Larson recovered after the second, pitching three consecutive scoreless innings.
The Wildcats’ half of the third inning mirrored the first, as Boskovich drove in Lindell to tie the score 2-2.
Linfield broke free in the fourth. Jake Wylie (Jr., Eagle, Idaho) and Clayton Truex (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.) drew back-to-back walks and the ‘Cats sparked a two-out rally with three consecutive run-scoring singles to take a 6-2 lead.
Pacific fought back with a run in the sixth and two more in seventh to pull within one, 6-5. Linfield reliever Spencer Crepeaux was tagged for three hits in the inning, but managed to preserve the ‘Cats lead going into the eighth.
Crepeaux worked around an eighth-inning walk, putting the Wildcats three outs away from a series-clinching victory. After Crepeaux issued a leadoff walk to begin the ninth, reliever Casey Cameron entered the game with a chance to slam the door for Linfield.
The Boxers had other ideas. A single by Chad Fahey advanced Anson Arakaki to third. A walk then loaded the bases to set the stage for Van Hoon, who responded with the walk-off base hit. For the day, Van Hoon was 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored.
Larson threw six complete innings for the ‘Cats, allowing two earned runs on four hits with seven strikeouts. Cameron took the loss to even his season record at 1-1.
Linfield rode the hot bat of Kramer Lindell (Jr., West Linn, Ore.), who hit 4-for-11 for the weekend with a home run and three doubles.
Boxers reliever Mike McGuire threw 4 1/3 shutout innings, allowing only three hits and recording six strikeouts.
Wilson, Boskovich, Lindell, and Jesse Boustead each collected two hits for Linfield.
NEXT: Northwest Conference play returns to Roy Helser Field for three weekend games. Linfield takes on rival Willamette Saturday at 11 a.m., then plays a third game Sunday starting at noon. Live internet play-by-play coverage begins approximately 10 minutes before the scheduled start time.
Holds Boxers at bay for 6 innings
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