May 28, 2010

By Bryan Rose
Special to

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. - Linfield College had little trouble disposing of Massachusetts-Boston on Friday in the opener of the NCAA Division III Baseball Championship.

Linfield (35-11) scored four runs in the first inning to take command and shut out the Beacons 12-0.

Cole Bixenman put the Wildcats on the board in the first with a two-run double to left. Bixenman later scored on Rhett Fenton's double. Linfield added a run on a sacrifice fly to make it 4-0 after one-half inning.

That was all starting pitcher Ryan Larson needed as he kept the Beacons (32-16) off the bases and took a no-hitter deep into the game.

Larson hit a batter in the third for Massachusetts-Boston's first runner. But the next batter hit into a double play to end the inning.

Larson carried his no-hitter into the seventh, but the first batter hit a grounder down the first base line to break up his no-hit bid.

The Beacons added another hit in the eighth, but that was all the offense they could muster off Larson, who pitched eight innings, allowing two hits and striking out three.

Bixenman led the Wildcats, going 2-for-6 with three RBIs, while Rhett Fenton was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a walk.

Mark McCormack and Jose Roman Santos collected the only hits for Boston. Starter James Dalton took the loss.

Linfield will face SUNY-Cortland in a winner's bracket game at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Massachusetts-Boston will take on Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the first elimination game at 11 a.m.