Game 2 Box Score
NEWBERG, Ore. – Nabbing a pair of Northwest Conference victories with contrasting outcomes, defending champion Linfield swept a doubleheader from the resilient George Fox Bruins Saturday at showery Morse Field.
The Wildcats pounded the Bruins 11-0 in five innings in the first game, then needed to rally three times from deficits to pull out a thrilling 9-8 result in the second game that extended the Wildcats’ win streak to a season-best nine games.
Karleigh Prestianni (Sr., Grants Pass, Ore.), Erin Carson (Soph., Camas, Wash.) and Ashley Garcia (Jr., Beaverton, Ore.) all had four hits in the two-game set and Karina Paavola (Jr., Kelso, Wash.) picked up two wins in the pitching circle for the ‘Cats, who upped their second record to 26-5 and 18-2 in the NWC.
Bounding to a 9-0 lead after two innings, Linfield coasted to its 25th win of the season.
Paavola struck out five batters without allowing a hit or a walk during the first three innings, then reliever Montana McNealy (Soph., Aloha, Ore.) kept the Bruins off balance the rest of the way, giving up only a single hit the rest of the way.
Prestianni and Garcia each went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and three RBI to power a 12-hit Linfield attack. Megan Wallo (Sr., Aloha, Ore.) and Carson also slapped a pair of hits.
George Fox led 2-1 after one inning only to watch as Linfield took a 3-2 advantage in the fourth on a two-run homer by Lisa Yamamoto (Soph., Carson City, Nev.). The Bruins answered with two runs of their own in the fifth to go back in front, 5-4 on RBIs by Anderson and Kirk.
Again, Linfield answered with three more runs to snatch the lead back, 7-5, highlighted by a two-run homer from Prestianni and a bases-loaded error with Katy Brosig (Jr., Forest Grove, Ore.) batting that allowed Garcia to score from third. George Fox countered with a four-run burst in the sixth, three of them coming on Anderson’s home run of the pitch of Paavola.
In the seventh, Grace Middlestadt singled to lead off the inning, then moved to second on a base hit by Wallo. A passed ball enabled the runners to move to second and third. With two outs, Garcia delivered a game-tying double and Carson added the game-winning RBI moments later to secure the victory.
Paavola, the third Linfield pitcher in the game, earned the win to move to 15-2. She pitched the final three frames, striking out four and walking one Bruin.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield stretched its series winning streak over George Fox to 46 games . . . the Bruins’ last victory over the Wildcats was March 10, 2001. . . Saturday’s second game featured seven lead changes. . . Paavola pocketed her 40th and 41st career pitching victories to move into a tie for seventh on Linfield’s career wins ladder . . . any combination of three Linfield wins or Pacific Lutheran losses would clinch a share of the Wildcats’ 10th straight NWC crown. . . the regular-season champion earns the right to host the four-team NWC playoff tournament, April 20-21.
NEXT: The Wildcats and Bruins resume their four-game series with a second twinbill Sunday at the Morse Complex starting at noon. Linfield then hosts Willamette in a NWC twinbill Wednesday evening at 5:30.
4 hits, 5 RBI
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128