No. 1 Linfield sweeps by Williamette
Lepp equals school's single season home run mark in victories
SALEM, Ore. – Top-ranked Linfield used its customary weapon, the home run, to defeat Northwest Conference rival Willamette twice on Saturday, by scores of 3-0 in the opener and 2-0 in the nightcap.
Accustomed to winning by lopsided scores, the Wildcats found the Bearcats able adversaries. Willamette (15-14, 12-9 NWC) contained one of the top hitting clubs in NCAA Division III, limiting Linfield to 11 hits over a 14-inning span.
Home runs by Emilee Lepp and Staci Doucette provided the difference in both games. In the opener, Lepp launched her 20th home run to equal Doucette’s single-season club record set last year, and Doucette belted her 15th homer in the nightcap to break a scoreless deadlock in the sixth inning.
Rising star Karina Paavola had a hand in both shutout victories. Against Paavola, the Bearcats managed just one hit as the freshman righthander combined to strike out 11 over six innings of action, including seven Ks in the nightcap.
Linfield (31-2, 20-1 NWC) achieved its eighth consecutive 30-win season under Coach Jackson Vaughan.
Lepp blasted her record-tying home run in the first inning off the pitch of WU starter Alex Watilo.
Willamette's Talissa Huntsman singled in the fourth inning but the Wildcats turned a nifty double play to retire both Huntsman and Susie Krewer.
Linfield added an insurance run in the seventh. With the bases loaded, Katy Brosig singled to left field to score Emily Keagbine. Keagbine finished with a pair of hits in the game.
Wildcats starter Claire Velaski earned her 41st career victory while moving to 14-1 for the season.
The teams traded zeros on the scoreboard for five innings before Lepp and Doucette teamed up for the game’s only runs. Lepp started the fireworks with a triple off the center-field fence, then Doucette put the Wildcats on her shoulders, delivering her sixth home run in the last nine days.
Doucette went 2-for-3 while Brosig, Keagbine and Karleigh Prestianni also provided hits in the game.
Paavola came on in relief of starter Lauren Harvey, in four innings, she fanned seven batters without allowing a hit or a walk.