Game 2 Box Score
TACOMA, Wash. – Continuing their dominance of Northwest Conference opponents, the top-rated Linfield Wildcats notched two more lopsided victories Monday, beating Puget Sound 7-1 and 7-0 at Logger Field.
Linfield (28-2, 18-2 NWC) barreled closer to its ninth straight NWC crown, a feat matched only by Pacific Lutheran’s run of dominance that saw the Lutes claim 11 consecutive titles from 1987 until 1997.
Ashley Garcia (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.) and Emilee Lepp had a hand in four hits each for the Wildcats, who outhit the hosts 18-7, played spotless defense in the field, and saw three pitchers combine for 21 strikeouts in only 13 innings.
Puget Sound, whose losing skein against Linfield reached 21 games on Monday, dropped to 2-24-1 for the season and 2-18 in conference play.
Lepp went 2-for-3, drove in two runs and scored three times to boost the Wildcats in the opener.
Linfield piled up nine hits to UPS’s four, including multi-hit games from Lepp, Garcia and Karleigh Prestianni (Sr., Grants Pass, Ore.).
Lauren Harvey earned her 12th pitching victory against only one loss. Harvey tossed the first five innings, allowing three hits and a couple of walks in a five-strikeout performance. Shelby VandeBergh (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.) pitched the final two frames in relief, logging four strikeouts, including the final two outs of the game.
Linfield broke the ice with a single run in the top of the first inning. Lepp singled, stole second and third bases, then capitalized on a delayed steal and throwing error by pitcher Elayna Van Hess for a quick 1-0 lead. Linfield had a chance to pad its early lead when Van Hess loaded the bases, but Katy Brosig (Jr., Forest Grove, Ore.) lined out to shortstop Brianna Huber, minimizing the damage.
The Loggers tied the game at 1 on Amy Schmekpepper’s run-scoring single to center field in the bottom of the inning.
Again in the third, the Wildcats loaded the bases on Van Hess. Prestianni drew a walk to force Jaydee Baxter home from third base. Garcia then provided a run-scoring single that allowed Lepp to score and the Wildcats led 3-1.
Issuing consecutive walks, Van Hess allowed the Wildcats to load the bases once more with two outs, but the inning ended after Brosig popped up to Marissa Jeffers at first base.
Harvey set the Loggers down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fourth, coaxing three consecutive ground outs, before the Wildcats erupted with three runs in the fifth. A two-run homer by Lepp, her 11th of the season, made it 5-1, then Staci Doucette scored after Prestianni doubled down the left-field line.
Linfield added to UPS’s misery with single run in the sixth. Jordan Mixsell singled to right-center, scoring pinch runner Rachelle Ridout (Sr., Montesano, Wash.) from second base.
Karina Paavola (Jr., Kelso, Wash.) torched the Loggers with a career-high 12 strikeouts on the way to her fifth shutout victory of the season.
Paavola (14-1) scattered three hits and one walk across six innings.
Garcia went 2-for-3, Brosig and Lepp added two more hits each, and Staci Doucette homered during the Wildcats’ four-run second inning. Baxter added a RBI double in the inning.
Run-scoring singles by Lepp and Prestianni, plus a passed ball that scored Baxter, highlighted a three-run, sixth-inning scoring burst.
Without stadium lighting, the game was halted in the sixth when darkness settled in.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield stretched its current win streak to 16 games, well short of the Wildcats’ school-record 35-game unbeaten run last season . . . Doucette pushed her NCAA career record for home runs to 69 while Lepp remains close behind with 62. . . Lepp and Doucette have now started 178 consecutive games and are on pace to easily surpass the club record of 184 career starts set last season by Emily Keagbine (2008-11). . . Lepp (236) and Doucette (235) are stride-for-stride in the race for the career RBI record. . . over the weekend, Harvey became just one of six Linfield pitchers to record 200 career strikeouts. . . the senior now has 206.
AHEAD: Linfield returns to Del Smith Stadium for its next six games. Friday, the Wildcats host George Fox in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. The game time was adjusted to the late afternoon to avoide additional missed class time. Saturday, the Bruins and Wildcats meet again in McMinnville for two games starting at noon. The following Saturday, Linfield hosts Willamette, also at noon. Live internet coverage starts approximately 10 minutes before the first pitch each day.
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128