Game 2 Box Score
ORANGE, Calif. – West Coast adversaries Linfield and Chapman, both nationally ranked among the top 25 teams in NCAA Division III, traded blows in a potential playoff preview Friday afternoon at El Camino Real Park.
The host Panthers (19-5), ranked No. 21 in the most recent NFCA Top 25 poll, rallied from a 2-0 deficit, scoring all three of their runs in the final two frames to snatch the opener 3-2. Eighth-ranked Linfield (17-4) didn’t take the loss sitting down, responding with a 12-1 beating in the nightcap.
A walkoff single by Chapman’s Amy Serven in the bottom of the seventh inning sent Linfield to defeat in the opener.
Karleigh Prestianni (Sr., Grants Pass, Ore.) drove in the game’s first run in the first inning. Megan Wallo (Sr., Aloha, Ore.) singled, then stole second base. A single by Prestianni sent Wallo sprinting for home and the Wildcats led 1-0 before the game was barely five minutes old.
The scored remain the same until the sixth. Grace Middelstadt (Soph., Battle Ground, Wash.) singled to lead off inning. After swiping second and heading to third on another Wallo single through the infield, Middelstadt was thorwn out at the plate attempting to steal home. With two outs, Lisa Yamamoto (Soph., Carson City, Nev.) drilled a ball deep to the outfield fence, scoring Wallo.
Chapman cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the sixth with Stephanie Engle’s double to center field that plated Amy Serven.
The Panthers had one more chance in the seventh. With one runner on base and two outs, Richards tripled to score pinch runner Karina Muniz, tying the score. Serven then singled to left field, sending Amy Richards home for the winning run.
Karina Paavola (Jr., Kelso, Wash.) kept the Panthers at bay through the first five innings before yielding three hits and two walks over the last two stanzas. Paavola (10-2) struck out five while giving up six hits.
Wallo and Prestianni each accounted for a pair of hits. Both teams registered six hits.
Cassie Oregel (9-2) earned the complete-game pitching victory. Richards, the Panthers’ leadoff hitter, went 3 for 4.
After watching their eight-game win streak snapped, the Wildcats scored in big bunches to win the nightcap convincingly.
Erin Carson (Soph., Camas, Wash.) went 4 for 4, drove in three runs and scored twice to pace Linfield at the plate. Middelstadt and Ashley Garcia (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.) also came through with a pair of hits.
A five-run third inning, highlighted by a two-run single from Yamamoto and a two-run triple by Carson, put the ‘Cats in control in the early stages.
Leading 5-1 in the sixth, Linfield erupted for seven more runs as Middelstadt tripled with the bases loaded to make it 8-1 and Yamamoto, Ashley Garcia (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.) and Carson soon followed with RBIs of their own. The game was halted after six innings by the eight-run rule.
Shelby VandeBergh (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.) pitched the Wildcats to the win in the circle, striking out five batters and without a walk. VandeBergh improved to 8-2 with the win. Reliever Montana McNealy (Soph., Aloha, Ore.) pitched the final inning to secure the win, striking out two of the four batters she faced.
‘CAT SCRATCH: For the second time this month, Paavola was singled out as the Northwest Conference Student-Athlete Pitcher of the Week. . . Paavola pitched two complete games last week, including a 1-0 shutout of Pacific. . . Carson, a reserve as a freshman last season, is hitting a team-best .452 in 17 starts this spring. . . Middelstadt has successfully stolen 17 bases in 18 attempts. . .
NEXT: Linfield returns to the Northwest and conference play next Friday, March 29, with a home doubleheader against Puget Sound. The following day, the Wildcats host defending national champion Pacific Lutheran in a rematch of last season’s NCAA Division III championship game.
4 hits in Game 2
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