SPOKANE, Wash. – Sixth-ranked Linfield guaranteed itself sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference baseball standings at the halfway point of the conference schedule after completing a three-game sweep of defending champion Whitworth with a 10-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at Merkel Field.
The Wildcats improved to 18-3 overall and 11-1 in the NWC with their sixth straight victory. The Pirates dropped their fourth straight and sixth in the last seven games to fall to 9-12-1, 4-5.
Linfield built leads of 8-0 and 10-2 on the way to the win. Zach Brandon (4-1) threw five scoreless innings to earn the win. He allowed only three hits and struck out three batters. Justin Huckins tossed the final 3.0 innings to pick up his fifth save.
Jason Renner (1-2) allowed eight runs on eight hits over 4.0 innings as Whitworth's starter. Nick Scourey and Taylor Isadore followed in relief.
Nate McClellan's RBI double got the Wildcats on the board in the second inning. Kyle Chamberlain added a two-run single in the fourth inning for a 3-0 lead. The Wildcats put the game out of reach with five runs in the fifth. Jake Wylie had an RBI double and Nick Fisher followed with a two-run double with Kramer Lindell adding another run on the play following a Pirate throwing error. Jordan Harlow added the final run-scoring single in the inning for an 8-0 Linfield lead.
Whitworth got on the board in the sixth when Jeremy Druffel scored on Gerhard Muelheims' sacrifice fly. Blake Thoren followed with an RBI double.
Linfield scored its final two runs in the seven on a pinch-hit double by Clayton Truex and an second RBI single of the game by Harlow.
Erik Nikssarian led off the Pirate seventh with a triple and scored on Nick Motsinger's single. Mostinger later scored on Tyler Pfeffer's grounder to second base.
Whitworth's final run came in the ninth when Druffel scored on Marlowe Peter's ground ball to second base.
Fisher finished 3-4 at the plate for Linfield with two RBIs and three runs scored. Harlow was 2-4 with two RBIs for the ‘Cats.
Pfeffer was the only Pirate with two hits. Druffel led the Bucs with two runs scored.
Whitworth returns to action on Friday with a doubleheader at George Fox.