Game 2 Box Score
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) made his season debut in style, delivering a two-out single on the final play of the day to help No. 5 Linfield salvage a split against Willamette in a Northwest Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Roy Helser Field.
In a back-and-forth afternoon that saw its fair share of wind, rain and even some sun, the Wildcats (8-4, 5-3 NWC) got the last word against the Bearcats (4-11, 2-3 NWC) to give the home team a chance to still win the series with one game yet to play.
Brandon Simon threw a complete game with five strikeouts and out-dueled Linfield ace Ryan Larson to lead Willamette over Linfield 4-1. The Wildcats’ bats ran ice cold and had no answer for Simon throughout the game.
Larson (1-1, 3.12 ERA) had command of the strike zone early, retiring the first six Bearcat batters of the game. Simon (2-1, 6.38 ERA) was equally as impressive, allowing only one hit through the first three innings.
Jordan Harlow led off the fifth with a single just beyond the outstretched glove of Bearcat second baseman Hunter Gallant, and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Kenny Johnson (Sr., Federal Way, Wash.). With two outs, Tim Wilson knocked a single to right field and Harlow beat the throw to the plate to give the ‘Cats the lead, 1-0.
Despite some solid pitching from Larson, who at one point retired 10 straight batters, the Willamette offense finally broke through in the seventh. Mitchell Rowan doubled to center to drive in Tommy Kawamura, who had led off the inning with a single. Tiras Koon then followed with a base hit to left, which scored Rowan and gave the Bearcats the lead.
The Bearcats loaded the bases in the eighth, threatening to extend their lead. But Larson worked out of the jam, recording his seventh strikeout of the game to end the inning.
Willamette struck again in the ninth, as a double by Dylan Summers brought home two runners to stretch the Bearcats’ lead to 4-1.
McClellan went 3-for-4 for the ‘Cats in his first appearance this season. Still battling back from an injury, he was used as the designated hitter. Kyle Chamberlain hit 2-for-4, finishing 4-for-9 overall on the afternoon to improve his season average to .396. He has reached base in every game so far this season.
Larson recorded nine strikeouts en route to his first complete game of the season.
McClellan singled with two outs in bottom of the ninth to drive in Zach Boskovich and give the ‘Cats a win in dramatic fashion, 4-3.
Robert Vaughn retired the first nine Bearcat hitters, and didn’t allow a hit until catcher Ben Peterson beat out a ground ball to third base for an infield single in the fifth.
The ‘Cats had a chance to get on the board in the fourth when McClellan shot a single into center field. Tyson Giza fielded the ball on the run and threw home, and Peterson was able to hang on and withstand a rough collision with Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) to record the out.
Linfield got on the board in the fifth on a double from Wilson that plated Johnson. A double steal by Wilson and Boskovich put runners on second and third with two outs, but Lindell was called out at first on a bang-bang play and the score remained tied at 1-1.
The Bearcats wrestled the lead back in the sixth, taking advantage of a passed ball and a clutch single from Sky Kelley.
Linfield responded in its half of the sixth, plating two runs to push the score to 3-2. Capitalizing on a single by Kevin Allan, McClellan advanced from first to third, and then scored on the ensuing suicide squeeze laid down by Johnson. Allan scored the go-ahead run when Wilson beat out a ground ball to second.
A walk drawn by Hunter Gallant off reliever Chris Haddeland (Jr., McMinnville, Ore.) came around to score thanks to a base hit by Andrew Wilson, and the Bearcats once again knotted the score, 3-3, in the seventh.
Two consecutive singles from Boskovich and Lindell started the Wildcats’ rally in the ninth. This led up to a second and third situation with two outs for McClellan, who smashed a ground ball that glanced off the glove of diving Bearcat third baseman Tosh Semlacher, allowing Boskovich to come home.
AHEAD: The series wraps up Sunday at noon as the ‘Cats look to win their second NWC series of the year. Live internet play-by-play begins starts approximately ten minutes before the first pitch.
RBI single scores winning run
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McMinnville, OR 97128