Courtesy Whitworth athletics
SPOKANE, Wash. - Sixth-ranked Linfield pounded 30 hits on the way to a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader sweep on Saturday at Whitworth. The Wildcats won the opener 5-2 and then ran away with the nightcap 14-2 at Merkel Field.
Tim Wilson, a transfer from the University of Washington, led the Wildcats with seven hits, six runs scored, four RBIs and his first home run of the season in the two games.
Linfield improved to 17-3 overall and 10-1 in the NWC while Whitworth dropped to 9-11-1, 4-4. The teams will complete their three-game series on Sunday at noon.
Game 1 – Linfield 5, Whitworth 2
Chris Haddeland outdueled Dan Scheibe as the Wildcats won the series opener .
After three and a half scoreless innings, the Pirates jumped ahead in the fourth inning on Tyler Pfeffer's RBI double to right-center field. But Linfield got two in the sixth to take a lead it would not give up. With Wilson on third base and one out, Scheibe struck out Jake Wylie. But the ball was in the dirt and Wylie got to first when the throw got away, which allowed Wilson to score and tie the game. A single and walk loaded the bases for Nick Fisher. Fisher drove a ball to the wall in left field, but it only went as a single as the runners had to hold in case of a catch. Wylie scored from third base, but Kramer Lindell was thrown out trying to score from second.
Back to back doubles by Jordan Harlow and Wilson drove in Linfield's third run in the seventh. Whitworth got back within 3-2 in the eighth. With runners at second and third and one out, Josh Davis hit into a fielder's choice with Jeremy Druffel getting thrown out at third and Nick Motsinger coming home. After another single, Haddeland got out of trouble when he cleanly fielded Gerhard Muelheims' hard grounder back up the middle.
The Wildcats added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth inning in Wylie's two-run single.
Haddeland improved to 5-1 with his complete-game effort. He allowed the two Pirate runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Scheibe dropped to 2-2 after giving up three runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings. He struck out seven Wildcats and walked two. Nick Scourey threw the final 2.2 innings for the Bucs.
Lindell finished 4-5 at the plate for Linfield, but did not factor into any runs. Wilson, Fisher and Harlow each had a pair of hits.
The seven Whitworth hits were scattered among seven Pirate players. Motsinger scored both runs for the Bucs.
Game 2 – Linfield 14, Whitworth 2
Wilson went 5-6, scored five times and drove in three runs while hitting his first homer of the season to lift the Wildcats to the victory. Linfield also got another strong pitching performance from Aaron Thomassen.
Like in the opener, Whitworth jumped ahead 1-0 when Thomas Wakem scored on Erik Nikssarian's fielder's choice in the second inning. But Linfield went in front with a pair in the third and never trailed again. Fisher had an RBI single in the third.
The Wildcats made it 5-1 in the fourth. Lindell had a two-run double in that three-run rally. Wylie's RBI double in the sixth made it 6-1 and the 'Cats added a second unearned run in the inning.
Danny Jordan's RBI single got Whitworth within 7-2 in the bottom of the sixth, but Linfield added on two more runs in the seventh. Wilson and Wylie had RBI singles in the frame to increase the 'Cats' lead to 9-2.
Linfield poured on five more runs in the top of the ninth, beginning with Wilson's home run over the right field wall.
In addition to Wilson's big game at the plate, Wylie finished 2-4 with three RBIs while Fisher had two hits and two RBIs.
Blake Thoren went 3-3 for Whitworth, but did not score or drive in a run. Druffel and Davis each had a pair of hits for the Pirates.
Thomassen (5-0) scattered eight hits over 6.1 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) with three strikeouts and three walks. Garrett Speyer finished up with 2.2 innings of scoreless relief.
Carson Blumenthal (3-1) dropped his first decision of the season after giving up six runs (three earned) on eight hits in 5.0 innings with two strikeouts and five walks. Four other Pirates followed on the mound and combined to allow eight runs on 10 hits.