Game 2 Box Score
Current NWC Standings
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Make it 10 in a row for the Linfield College Wildcats.
At Del Smith Stadium Wednesday night, Linfield clinched the program’s 10th consecutive Northwest Conference title, thumping the visiting Willamette Bearcats 8-0 in five innings before managing just a single hit in a 2-1 upset loss in the nightcap.
The outcome of Game 2 mattered little to the Wildcats (29-6, 21-3 NWC), who needed just one win over the Bearcats (14-18, 10-12 NWC) to sew up the championship outright.
As regular-season champion, Linfield earns the right to host the four-team NWC Playoff Tournament, April 20-21, at Del Smith Stadium. The winner claims the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division III playoffs.
Willamette remained among five teams fighting over the remaining three berths to the NWC playoffs with one weekend of regular-season play remaining. Linfield, ranked seventh in the latest NFCA Top 25 poll, saw its NWC win streak halted at 19 games.
Garcia went 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles, Karina Paavola (Jr., Kelso, Wash.) piled up eight strikeouts and the Wildcats pounded 13 hits on Bearcats starter Hayley Glantz to lock up the title.
Glantz walked the first three batters she faced, loading the bases for Garcia, who plunked a single that scored Grace Middelstadt (Soph., Battle Ground, Wash.). A two-run double from McKenna Spieth (Soph., Vancouver, Wash.) soon followed before Brosig drove in Garcia with a single to center field that pumped the Linfield lead to 4-0 before the first three outs had been recorded.
Middelstadt drew her second walk to lead off the second inning and Erin Carson (Soph., Camas, Wash.) promptly sent her home with a double to center. Doubles by Prestianni and Lisa Yamamoto (Soph., Carson City, Nev.) made it 6-0. Carson’s RBI single padded the Wildcats’ lead before Garcia delivered a RBI single that scored Prestianni from second base.
Paavola was in command throughout, allowing three hits and two walks. When the Bearcats loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, Paavola nonchalantly struck out Erin Norris swinging and snagged a grounder by Jenna King for the third out.
Carson, Prestianni and Brosig each tapped a couple of hits for Linfield.
Freshman Victoria Bradshaw handcuffed the Wildcats to one hit, a single by Brosig in the third.
Brosig scored Linfield’s lone run, unearned, on a fielding error by Bradshaw.
Willamette plated both its runs in the fourth. Amanda Fernandes singled to left-center field with one out, Bueser tapped a RBI double to center and Courtney Galli followed up with a single that scored Bueser.
In the Linfield fifth, Brosig drew a leadoff walk, then moved to second on a sacrifice by Middelstadt. But Carson’s two-out chopper down the first-base line was snagged by Bueser, ending the inning.
Montana McNealy (Soph., Aloha, Ore.) relieved VandeBergh to begin the sixth and the sophomore southpaw proceeded to strike out the WU side in order. Linfield again put two runners on base with two outs in the bottom of the frame, but Bradshaw struck out Spieth swinging.
Pinch hitter Chelan Guischer (Soph., The Dalles, Ore.) drew a walk off Bradshaw with one out in the seventh, and a sacrifice bunt by Middelstadt advanced the runner to second. With two outs, Carson’s line drive was snatched on the run by center fielder Yvonne Drabin, securing the upset.
Bradshaw struck out two and walked six to improve to 6-4.
VandeBergh (11-3) surrendered six hits and no walks while striking out three Bearcats in five innings of action.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The Wildcats’ .574 team slugging percentage ranks fourth in NCAA Division III statistics. . . Linfield also ranks seventh in scoring average (8.24) and 11th in batting average (.365). . . Garcia’s four triples this spring rank fifth all-time in the Linfield single-season record book, a mark shared by four other players. . . Prestianni’s 46 career doubles ranks fourth-most in school history. . . last week, Prestianni become one of just three Wildcats to ever surpass 200 career RBI. . . her 202 RBI trails only Staci Doucette (248, a NCAA record) and Emilee Lepp (240). . . the longest run of consecutive NWC championships is 11, set by Pacific Lutheran between 1987 and 1997.
AHEAD: Linfield heads north to Tacoma, Wash., to complete the NWC regular-season slate. The Wildcats visit Pacific Lutheran Saturday before head to Puget Sound to meet the winless Loggers Sunday. Both doubleheaders begin at noon.
Close play at home
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128