PORTLAND, Ore. – Zach Brandon (Sr., Cottage Grove, Ore.) threw seven solid innings as Linfield completed its fifth Northwest Conference sweep of the season with an 8-2 victory over host Lewis & Clark Sunday afternoon at The Huston Sports Complex.
Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, Tim Wilson went 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base, and Kyle Chamberlain led the way with three RBI for the Wildcats. Brandon allowed two runs on eight hits with two walks and a strikeout, and Justin Huckins (Sr., Bend, Ore.) and Garrett Miller (Jr., Corvallis, Ore.) each threw a scoreless inning of relief to finish the game.
No. 1 Linfield finished NWC play with a record of 21-3 and moved its overall season mark up to 32-5, notching its third 30-win season of the past four years.
Mike Kinkenon went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a double for Lewis & Clark, and Bradley Lezak, Eric Hyun and Matthew Cathcart each had a pair of hits for the Pios. Ryan Strombom threw seven innings, allowing five runs – four earned – on five hits with seven walks and five strikeouts. The Pioneers wrapped up their 2013 NWC schedule with a record of 6-18 in conference play and 9-31 overall.
Strombom worked around a pair of first-inning walks to leave two Wildcats on base and escape without allowing a run.
Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) drew a leadoff walk in the second, and after Truex singled to right, Jordan Harlow moved the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Chamberlain followed with a sacrifice fly that scored McClellan, but also ended the inning as Truex was thrown out attempting to advance to third.
A walk and a single for the Pios in the bottom of the inning didn’t rattle Brandon, who retired Cathcart on a fly ball to strand the base runners.
Linfield got on the board again in the fourth when a pair of walks sandwiched by a base hit loaded the bases for Chamberlain. The Wildcats’ backstop showed a good eye as he drew a walk that plated Linfield’s second run of the game. Wilson drove in Truex on a groundout in the ensuing at-bat, and the ‘Cats built their lead to 3-0.
Kinkenon got Lewis & Clark back into the game in the bottom of the fifth, as his two-out, two-run double to center brought home Hyun and Lezak.
Truex led off the sixth with a base hit and Harlow followed with a groundball that was mishandled to put two runners on with no outs. Chamberlain came through with another sacrifice fly that scored Truex, and Wilson doubled in the next at bat to plate Harlow and bring the Wildcats’ lead back up to three runs.
Brandon followed with a shutdown inning in the sixth, and worked around a two-out walk in the seventh to finish his outing.
Kinkenon led off the bottom of the eighth with a base hit off of Huckins, but the junior closer got Andrew Traver to hit a ground ball to Harlow at third. The ‘Cats went around the horn to turn a 5-4-3 double play that stifled any threat of a comeback.
After Corey VanDomelen (Jr., Tigard, Ore.) and Jake Wylie (Sr., Eagle, Idaho) moved to second and third on a fly ball, Nick Fisher (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) was intentionally walked to load the bases for McClellan in the ninth. Linfield’s designated hitter drove in one run on an infield single, and Wylie came around to score on an error. Harlow tacked on a final run with a sacrifice fly that brought home Fisher, as Linfield pulled ahead 8-2.
Miller allowed a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth before retiring the next two Pios to end the game, complete the sweep, and wrap up Linfield’s 2013 NWC schedule.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The ‘Cats have now won 12-straight games against the Pioneers dating back to the 2009 season…Lewis & Clark’s last victory against Linfield came via a doubleheader sweep on April 10, 2009 in Portland…on the weekend, Wilson went 7-for-16 with five RBI, five runs scored, a double, a home run and five stolen bases…Wylie, VanDomelen, Lindell and Truex each had five hits on the weekend.
RECORD WATCH: Turning four double plays on the weekend, Linfield tied the single-season record of 43, set by the 2009 squad…Wilson is within three stolen bases of the career record (67) and still holds on to the program’s best career batting average (.433)…with 10 wins each, Haddeland and Thomassen are both within reach of the single-season wins record of 12, and Huckins is two saves shy of the single-season mark of eight.
NEXT UP: Linfield hits the road for a three-game nonconference trip to Lewiston, Idaho. The Wildcats take familiar foes Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth, as well as NAIA powerhouse Lewis-Clark State. Action is set to begin Saturday when the ‘Cats and Lutes square off at noon.
Starts off Linfield's record-tying 43rd double play of the season
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