COLUMBUS, Ga. – Experiencing both ends of the win/loss spectrum, ninth-ranked Linfield scored an impressive victory over a nationally ranked program before falling to a relative unknown Friday morning during the opening day of action at the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Leadoff Classic.
In Friday’s initial encounter, Linfield outhit No. 22 Ithaca (N.Y.) 12-2 en route to a 9-1 victory in game shortened to six innings by the eight-run rule. Later, unranked Gustavas Adolphus (Minn.) rallied from one run down to hand Linfield a 2-1 setback.
Wildcats ace Karina Paavola (Sr., Kelso, Wash.) fanned nine Bombers and the Wildcats pounded five extra-base hits in the opener for their sixth straight victory.
Paavola (4-0) allowed two hits, both singles, across five innings before southpaw Maddy Dunn (Soph., Lake Oswego, Ore.) came in to close the game out. Dunn yielded one walk the rest of the way.
Karleigh Prestianni and Ashley Garcia (Sr., Beaveton, Ore.) each smacked triples while combining to drive home five runs. Prestianni went 3 for 4 and Garcia was 2 for 3.
Linfield tallied single runs in the first, second and third innings before grabbing a 5-0 lead in the fourth. A three-run burst in the sixth that included RBIs by Garcia and Prestianni sealed the game in Linfield’s favor.
Against Gustavas Adolphus, Prestianni drove a double to left field in the third inning that scored Grace Middelstadt (Jr., Battle Ground, Wash.) and the Wildcats led 1-0.
The Gusties loaded the bases on Wildcats starter Shelby VandeBergh (Sr., Beaverton, Ore.) in the fifth inning, then pushed across the winning run with a fielder’s choice by Morgan. A single to right field by Christina Riester scored Paige Breneman.
Prestianni registered a single and a double but the Wildcats where limited to just four hits. Middelstadt and Chelan Guischer had Linfield’s only other base hits.
VandeBergh struck out four batters in 4 2/3 innings. She allowed seven hits and a pair of walks. Reliever Montana McNealy (Jr., Aloha, Ore.) surrendered one hit and a walk.
Complete statistics were unavailable Friday.
AHEAD: As round-robin play resumes on Saturday, Linfield (7-3) faces Fontbonne (Mo.), a 5-4 winner Friday over Gustavas Adolphus. Bracket action begins Saturday afternoon in Gold, Silver, Bronze and Copper divisions.
Five hits for the day
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