McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Clayton Truex (Sr., Kirkland, Wash.) paced the Linfield offense with a three-run homer while Chris Haddeland (Jr., McMinnville, Ore.) threw eight scoreless innings as the top-ranked Wildcats got back to their winning ways with a 6-2 victory over St. Martin's on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon at Roy Helser Field.
Truex sparked the ‘Cats (6-2) to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first with a three-run shot over the left-field fence, and a two-RBI single up the middle from Kekoa Kaulukukui (Soph., Aiea, Hawaii) in the sixth gave Linfield extra insurance in the latter stages of the game.
Carl Svanevick led the Saints (1-5) of the NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference offensively, going 2-for-3 with a walk.
Haddeland was in command all afternoon, totaling a quiet five strikeouts but recording 12 groundouts and six flyouts, and retiring the side on three separate occasions to pick up his second win of the year.
Linfield's ace quickly sat down the Saints' top of the order in the first, bringing the Wildcat offense to the plate for an equally hot start. Eric Lawson (Soph., Mill Creek, Wash.) reached on a fielder's choice and Nick Fisher (Sr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) drew a walk, and after Lawson stole third, the Wildcats had runners on the corners for Truex. On cue, the senior designated hitter launched his first homer of the year over the left-field fence to spot Linfield a 3-0 lead.
Kramer Lindell (Sr., West Linn, Ore.) and Jo Carroll (Jr., Bend, Ore.) smacked back-to-back base hits off Saint Martin's lefty Josh Moss to put another runner in scoring position, and Lindell stole third, but the Saints turned a double play to end the inning and the threat.
Linfield returned the double-play favor in the top of the second. Alex Bielaski reached on an error, and Svanevik broke up Haddeland's no-hitter with a single to left field. Blake Lord followed up with a base hit to right, loading the bases with one out. Linfield's defense came through, however, turning a double play to get its ace out of the jam.
Chance Laboda (Jr., Seattle, Wash.) led off the second with a double that was just fair down the left-field line, and Kaulukukui dropped a bunt in front of the plate before sprinting to first to put runners on the corners. Corey VanDomelen (Jr., Tigard, Ore.) shot a sacrifice fly to left to score Laboda, and the Wildcats opened up a 4-0 advantage.
Haddeland rolled through the middle innings, retiring the side in both the fourth and fifth frames as part of a string of seven consecutive outs.
Linfield tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. After Carroll and pinch hitter Nate McClellan (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) opened up with consecutive singles, Laboda pushed Carroll over to third on a sacrifice bunt. Kaulukukui drilled a base hit up the middle, scoring both runners and padding Linfield's lead to a six-run advantage.
The Saints stretched out their half of the ninth, leading off with a single from pinch hitter Kameron Bannister. Lord's groundout scored Kaelen Hirashiki, the pinch runner for Bannister, and two drawn walks loaded the bases. Needing one more out, Linfield closer Garett Speyer (Sr., Vancouver, Wash.) plunked Larsen to score another Saints runner, but struck out Huskey to escape with his first save of the year.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Truex registered his 15th career home run…Haddeland, the reigning national pitcher of the year, made his longest appearance of the season with eight full innings on the mound…Linfield improved to 2-1 against GNAC programs, including a win over Western Oregon the previous weekend…the Wildcats went 3-for-5 on stolen base attempts, tying a season high for swiped bags…Ben Andrews (Fr., Shoreline, Wash.) made his first career start at first base.
AHEAD: The Wildcats wrap up the weekend with another nonconference matchup Sunday at 2 p.m., playing host to Oregon Tech.
Goes 3-for-3 at the plate
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