PHOENIX, Ariz. – Nick Fisher (Jr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) and Kramer Lindell (Jr., West Linn, Ore.) combined for eight of the Wildcats’ 18 hits in a 15-3 Linfield rout over Redlands Friday afternoon at O’Conner Field.
Linfield (1-1) benefitted from six strong innings thrown by Zach Manley (Sr., Coburg, Ore.), in which he gave up two runs on three hits while striking out four and walking none.
Two early hit batters did little to shake the confidence of Manley, as the senior ace settled into a groove through the first three innings. The Bulldogs managed just a pair of base runners in that time span, and Kyle Chamberlain (Sr., Portland, Ore.) ensured a threat did not arise as he gunned down Mark Tumlinson as the Bulldog outfielder attempted to steal second.
The ‘Cats took advantage of small ball and sloppy play in the first, as Cory VanDomelen singled, advanced to third, and scored on a mishap by Redlands catcher Sean McMillan. Fisher got his big day started in the second with an RBI double, and Nate McClellan (Jr., Shoreline, Wash.) followed with a two-run double of his own.
Redlands (1-1) drew blood in the fourth, with Jason Henning coming around to score after a leadoff double to make the score 6-1 in favor of the ‘Cats.
The game didn’t remain close for long, as Linfield busted it wide open in its half of the fourth. A pair of walks from Toft Reinert set the stage for a big inning, and the Wildcats capitalized with three straight singles, a huge three-run double from Jordan Harlow (Sr., Baker City, Ore.), and an RBI single from Fisher.
Linfield comfortably held the lead through the fifth and sixth, and Manley gave way to Kyle Billeci (Soph., Aloha, Ore.) to make his Wildcat debut at the start of the seventh frame. The Bulldogs capitalized with a run on a passed ball, but Billeci worked his way out of the inning without serious damage.
Fisher led off the bottom of the seventh with his fourth career home run, and Lindell contributed a two-run single that pushed the ‘Cats up for good, 15-3.
An uneventful eighth and ninth ensured Linfield held on for its first win of 2013.
Linfield played well in all facets of the game, scoring 15 times on 18 hits with only eight runners left on base. Cody Erautt (Fr., Yucaipa, Calif.) combined with Manley and Billeci to allow just four Bulldog hits while striking out six and walking only one on the day. The Wildcats played a spotless game defensively, and Tim Wilson (Jr., Redmond, Wash.) and VanDomelen each had a stolen base.
“It was a very good bounce-back day after a tough day yesterday,” said head coach Scott Brosius. “We had a strong start from Manley – he threw six real good innings – and got very good offensive production through the lineup.”
Brosius specifically pointed to Fisher’s 4-for-5 afternoon and a couple of clutch two-out hits from Harlow and Lindell as keys to the game, but ultimately concluded that it was a total team effort that spurred Linfield to victory.
Bulldogs’ cleanup hitter Marcus Himelhoch provided both of the team’s RBI, and Henning had Redlands’ lone extra base hit with his fourth-inning double.
NEXT UP: Linfield takes on Texas-Dallas on Saturday, Feb. 9 in its third game in as many days. The ‘Cats and the Comets meet in New River, Ariz. with first pitch set for 10 a.m. MDT.
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