LEWISTON, Idaho – Alfonso Casillas hit a dramatic eighth-inning grand slam, allowing NAIA powerhouse Lewis-Clark State to hand Linfield its fifth consecutive loss, 8-5, Saturday afternoon at Harris Field.
Anthony Armanino threw 6 2/3 solid innings, allowing one run on five hits with six strikeouts. The Warriors’ starter was backed by Casillas’ five RBI and Eric Peterson’s three base hits.
Tim Wilson went 3-for-4 for the ‘Cats, including a solo home run and two runs scored, but his contributions were not enough to jolt the Wildcats out of the losing spell.
The Warriors (39-10) struck first, posting an unearned run in the bottom of the first inning off of Linfield ace Ryan Larson.
After the early run, both offenses went silent through the middle innings, until Linfield tied the game in the sixth on Wilson’s third home run of the season.
Jordan Payne led off the seventh for the Warriors with a triple, and was brought home when Connor Moore shot a base hit to right field. Lewis-Clark State went on to score twice more in the inning, thanks to two more singles, a double and a walk, and pushed the score to 4-1.
The Wildcats (21-15) fought ferociously in the eighth, plating four runs to gain a 5-4 advantage late. Kenny Johnson (Sr., Federal Way, Wash.) had an RBI double, and a two-run single from Kyle Chamberlain evened the score at four runs apiece.
With one out and runners on second and third, Michael Hopp laid down a suicide squeeze bunt, plating Zach Boskovich and giving the ‘Cats a temporary lead, their first of the series.
But Lewis-Clark State responded in its half of the eighth, as a walk to Peterson loaded the bases and set the stage for Casillas. The senior third baseman sent the first pitch he saw from Spencer Crepeaux over the left-field fence to clear the bases and give the Warriors the lead for good.
On the day, Larson threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits with one strikeout.
Johnson and Wilson were the only two Wildcats to collect multiple hits.
Kyle Knigge joined Payne, Moore, Peterson and Casillas as Warriors with two or more hits.
Mitchell Wilhite pitched a scoreless ninth for LC State to earn his fourth save of the season.
'CAT SCRATCH: Lewis-Clark State has now won 13 straight games against the Wildcats, the most consecutive wins in the 62-year history between the two teams, dating back to 1973...Linfield's most recent win came on Feb. 20, 2004 in Lewiston, an 11-3 victory...the 'Cats are in the midst of their longest losing streak of the year at five games...WIlson collected his 18th multiple-hit game of the season, leading all Wildcats.
AHEAD: The series wraps up Sunday as Linfield looks to salvage a win on the road trip. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Eighth-inning single plates two runs
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