Redlands Box Score
ANTHEM and GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Four veteran pitchers combined for two more Linfield victories as the Wildcats improved to 3-0 by topping both Pacific Lutheran and Redlands in early-season action Saturday afternoon at Boulder Creek and Desert Edge High Schools, respectively.
Zach Brandon (Sr., Cottage Grove, Ore.) and Joseph Stevick (Jr., Bremerton, Wash.) combined for a 5-2 triumph over the Northwest Conference rival Lutes (2-2) hours before Aaron Thomassen (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) and Zach Manley (Sr., Coburg, Ore.) limited Redlands (0-4) to six hits in a 10-3 Wildcat victory.
Leadoff hitter Corey VanDomelen (Jr., Tigard, Ore.) paced the Wildcat offense with three hits, while Jake Wylie (Sr., Eagle, Idaho) and Eric Lawson (Soph., Mill Creek, Wash.) supplied two RBI apiece.
LINFIELD 5, PACIFIC LUTHERAN 2
The Wildcats and Lutes took a 2-2 ballgame into the top of the seventh, when Wylie smacked a two-RBI double to score Kekoa Kaulukukui (Soph., Aiea, Hawaii) and Nick Fisher (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.), who had drawn walks off PLU reliever Cory Nelson.
Pinch runner Jackson Ruckert (Jr., Albany, Ore.) scored for Chance Laboda (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) on Kaulukukui's ninth-inning RBI single to tack on an insurance run for the top-ranked ‘Cats.
Lawson got the offense going early, delivering a two-out RBI double that scored Fisher and Wylie in the top of the first.
Pacific Lutheran knotted things up in the bottom of the second frame. Kit Banko drew a leadoff walk off Brandon, and advanced to third on Daniel Altch's ensuing double. Kort Skoda's groundout RBI scored Banko, and a sacrifice bunt from Jacob Clemen scored Altch from third. Bo Welch reached on a single, but was left stranded when Brandon coaxed Bo Pearson into a fly out.
Brandon surrendered two more hits and a walk over the next four innings, but no runs, and finished his afternoon with a three up, three down seventh inning before handing off to Stevick, who gave up just one hit over the final three frames.
“Beating PLU was a solid win for us. We were able to get a couple of big clutch hits from Lawson and Wylie,” said head coach Scott Brosius. “Brandon settled down after a rocky early start to throw six strong innings for us. Stevick did a great job in relief, coming in to get the save.”
LINFIELD 10, REDLANDS 3
Down 2-0 early, the Wildcats posted a four-spot in the bottom of the second and a huge six-run fifth inning to put some distance between themselves and the Bulldogs.
Thomassen gave up two runs in the top of the first, but allowed only one additional hit the remainder of his seven-inning spell as the Linfield offense rallied.
“After a shaky first inning, Aaron kept Redlands' batters in check with seven quality innings,” Brosius said. “Two big innings offensively helped us answer the bell and put the game away.”
Finn McMichael (Soph., Richland, Wash.) supplied a two-out single to score Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) and Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) and advanced to third on a fielding error. VanDomelen brought the sophomore left fielder home on a sacrifice fly, and just like that, the ‘Cats doubled up the Bulldogs 4-2.
Thomassen retired nine of the next 10 batters he faced, but Redlands starter Nate Richards was nearly as effective, at least temporarily, delivering a one-two-three third inning and allowing just one hit in the fourth frame.
Linfield got to Richards in the bottom of the fifth, driving the freshman lefty from the game off four consecutive hits.
VanDomelen started things off with a single, and scored on Fisher's RBI double. Wylie made it back-to-back doubles in the next at-bat, and Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) churned out an RBI single to push the Wildcat advantage to 7-2. Hayden Haigh replaced Richards and forced Lawson into a groundout for the second out, but an error in the next at-bat allowed Jo Carroll (Jr., Bend, Ore.) to reach base and Truex to score from third. The Bulldog defense finally got out of the inning when Haigh set up Fisher for a fly out to left field.
Silenced for seven innings, Redlands finally scored again in the bottom of the ninth. Alex Scheiwe reached on an error, and scored on Connor Hanco's RBI double. Jordan Dresn drew a walk and Spencer Hogg singled to load the bases, but Manley struck out Nathan Bowke to end the threat and the game.
Manley totaled three strikeouts, all in the ninth frame, in his first two live innings since undergoing elbow surgery almost a year ago.
“It was a long day today with a solid hour of travel between the two game sites and about 13 hours expended from the time we left the hotel until we got back,” Brosius said about Linfield's first two-game outing of the season. “I feel really good about the way the players responded to our doubleheader.”
AHEAD: Linfield and Whittier face off in the final of the Arizona tournament Sunday morning at 10 a.m. local time. A live video stream is available via the Whittier sports information department.
Three hits, two RBI
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128