Game 2 Box Score
SALEM, Ore. – A one-out ninth inning single by Hunter Gallant spoiled a no-hit bid by Aaron Thomassen (Jr., Seattle, Wash.), but Linfield survived a ninth-inning rally for the second time in a one-week span to win both ends of a doubleheader over Willamette Saturday afternoon at John Lewis Field.
Nick Fisher (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) went 3-for-7 on the day with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored for the ‘Cats, and Chance Laboda (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) hit his first career home run to pace Linfield offensively. Linfield improved to 12-2 overall and 5-0 in NWC play.
Gallant was the lone Bearcat to post multiple hits on the day, turning in a line of 2-for-7 with a run scored. The Bearcats stumbled to 5-9 on the season and are now 1-4 in the NWC.
Game 1: Linfield 6, Willamette 1
Chris Haddeland (Jr., McMinnville, Ore.) (3-1, 0.87 ERA) efficiently cruised through nine innings, using just 89 pitches en route to the win. The Wildcats’ ace allowed one run on four hits with no walks and three strikeouts. A big home run from Fisher highlighted Linfield’s offensive production, and Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) also had a pair of hits for the Wildcats.
Willamette starter Peter Hoffman threw eight innings, allowing five runs on nine hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts.
Linfield took advantage of sloppy Willamette defense from the start, as Tim Wilson reached first base in the first at-bat of the game on a bad throw from Bearcat second baseman Tanner Oates. Three batters later, Wilson came around to score when Jake Wylie (Sr., Eagle, Idaho) grounded into a double play.
The Wildcats capitalized again in the second, with Fisher and Wilson coming through with back-to-back two-out hits to score Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.). After a walk to Corey VanDomelen (Jr., Tigard, Ore.) loaded the bases, McClellan sent a ball back towards the mound. It glanced off of Hoffman, and Oates was able to feed it to shortstop Matt Hirsch in time to end the inning.
Haddeland started the game off strong, retiring the first seven batters before Jordan Harlow mishandled a ground ball from Oates. Wilson got his first fielding chance of the day in the ensuing at-bat, taking a ground ball from Brandon Chinn to the bag himself and relaying to first in time to retire the side.
After Harlow singled into center with one out in the fourth, Fisher doubled the Wildcats’ lead with his third home run of the season.
Haddeland’s bid for a no-hitter was denied in the bottom of the fourth, as Tyson Giza sent a double down the left field line. After the Bearcat leadoff hitter advanced to third on a fielder’s choice, an infield single from Tosh Semlacher brought home Willamette’s first run and made the score 4-1.
Willamette struggled to string hits together as Haddeland retired the side in order in the fifth and sixth innings. The duo of McClellan and Wylie created another run for Linfield in the seventh, as back-to-back two-out doubles gave Haddeland a solid 5-1 cushion.
Linfield continued to play solid defense. Wilson, VanDomelen and Harlow handled one ground ball each in the eighth to retire the side in order.
Fisher worked a walk off of new pitcher Jackson Watt then stole second to set the stage for the Wildcats in the ninth. VanDomelen came through with a double to right, and Linfield put the game out of reach at 6-1.
Game 2: Linfield 4, Willamette 3
Willamette scored three runs in a ninth-inning rally, but Justin Huckins (Sr., Bend, Ore.) struck out Corbin Bennet with runners on second and third to earn the save.
Thomassen (4-0, 0.66 ERA) threw 8 1/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit with three walks and nine strikeouts. Harlow posted a line of 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, and a two-run home run from Laboda gave Linfield an offensive boost.
Willamette starter Albert Garcia retired the first six Wildcat hitters before Harlow shot a base hit into right field to lead off the third inning. Laboda followed with his first career round-tripper, a two-run shot over the left-field fence that put Linfield on top 2-0.
Wilson walked on a 3-2 pitch from Garcia, and an ensuing infield single from Fisher put runners at the corners with one out in the third. Garcia buckled down, striking out Truex and getting Wylie to pop up as Linfield stranded a pair.
Lindell led off the fourth with a double down the right-field line, and McClellan moved him over to third with a groundout. Harlow perfectly executed a squeeze play, as his bunt single plated Lindell and made the score 3-0.
Bennett drew a leadoff walk in the sixth, and a bad throw from Truex allowed Giza to reach and put Bearcat runners at first and second. Thomassen made a nice play on a bunt by Hirsch to throw out the lead runner at third, then struck out Semlacher and Gallant to silence the Bearcats’ offense and end the inning.
Garcia recorded the first two outs of the sevent before handing the ball to Peter Davis after his pitch count reached 90. On the day, he allowed three runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
McClellan’s second double of the day came in the top of the ninth and set Linfield up with a runner in scoring position and no outs. After Harlow advanced pinch runner Eric Lawson (Soph., Mill Creek, Wash.) to third, a wild pitch allowed the Wildcats’ fourth run to score.
Thomassen struck out Hirsch to start the ninth, and was two outs away from completing a no-hitter. After Semlacher reached on an error, Gallant sent Thomassen’s 121st pitch into right center and drove Linfield’s starter from the game.
Sky Kelley sent an RBI single into center, and a two-run double from Brad Breier two batters later made the score 4-3. With the tying and go-ahead runs on base, Huckins dug deep and struck out Bennet swinging on three pitches to seal the victory for Linfield.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield has won 10 of 11 contests against Willamette over the past four seasons…Wilson’s 11-game hitting streak was snapped in Game 2, as the All-American was left in the on-deck circle in the top of the ninth when the final out was recorded…Linfield starters have lasted at least five innings in every game except a nonconference matchup against Montana State-Billings…Haddeland has thrown at least eight innings three times this season.
COMING UP: Linfield and Willamette finish off the 2013 series with a single game Sunday. First pitch is set for noon at John Lewis Field inside Keene Stadium.
First career home run accounts for two Linfield runs
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128