Game 2 Box Score
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Reflecting an already wide-open Northwest Conference softball race, nine-time champion Linfield and challenger Whitworth split a Sunday doubleheader at Del Smith Stadium.
Each team shared the winner’s spoils in a pair of extended one-run games Saturday that spanned a combined 24 innings. But on Sunday, Linfield pounded Whitworth 15-3 in five innings in the opening game before the Pirates held off a furious rally to capture the nightcap 7-6.
Linfield (2-2, 2-2 NWC), the 2012 NCAA Division III runner-up, and Whitworth (5-5, 2-2 NWC) divided the back-and-forth four-game series during a surprising opening weekend of conference action.
Linfield pounded 16 hits on four Pirate pitchers as the Wildcats rolled to the lopsided result in the opener. Leadoff hitter Grace Middelstadt (Jr., Battle Ground, Wash.) recorded three hits and scored three times and Katy Brosig (Sr., Forest Grove, Ore.) went 3 for 4 with two RBI.
After the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead on a run-scoring single by Brosig in the bottom of the first inning, the Wildcats added three runs in the third as Lisa Yamamoto (Jr., Carson City, Nev.), Brosig and Ashley Garcia (Sr., Beaveton, Ore.) took turns driving home runners.
Whitworth enjoyed a three-run spurt in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 4-3 but Linfield answered in spades in the bottom of the inning with an 11-run onslaught that saw the Wildcats send 15 batters to the plate. McKenna Spieth (Jr., Vancouver, Wash.) singled and doubled in the inning, just two of the Wildcats’ 10 hits.
Karina Paavola (Sr., Kelso, Wash.) earned the victory in the circle for Linfield, scattering six hits over five innings. Paavola (1-0) struck out three and walked three while allowing just one earned run.
Whitworth starter Megan Fisher (0-1) suffered the loss, surrendering six hits and four earned runs during the game’s first three frames. No Pirate had more than one hit.
Led by two hits each from Kasler, Fritz and Julia Johnson, the Pirates built a commanding 7-1 lead through 4½ innings before the Wildcats awoke in the sixth inning to nearly pull the game out.
Brosig went 3 for 4 with a double and Karleigh Prestianni had two hits, including a double. Both teams had 11 hits, but the Wildcats couldn’t bring home base runners from third base in the fourth and fifth innings.
Linfield scored five times in the sixth to trim the deficit to 7-6, fueled by run-scoring hits from Prestianni, Yamamoto and Brosig.
Needing a run to tie in the bottom of the seventh, Spieth clubbed a deep ball within two feet of the center-field fence but outfielder Sacha Clow snagged it on the warning track for the second out. Pinch hitter Chelan Guischer then doubled to center, but Middelstadt grounded out to end the game.
Wildcats starter Shelby VandeBergh (Sr., Beaverton, Ore.) took the loss. VandeBergh (1-2) lasted just two innings before heading to the dugout. She allowed six hits and four earned runs with two strikeouts. Fritz (4-1) pocketed the win for the Pirates.
AHEAD: Linfield hosts Pacific Saturday at Del Smith Stadium as conference action continues. The NWC twinbill starts at noon with live internet play-by-play beginning approximately 11:50 a.m. Next Sunday, the ‘Cats head to Portland to face Lewis & Clark, which stunned defending NCAA champion Pacific Lutheran 1-0 over the weekend.
2 for 3, double in opener
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128