McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- No. 1 Linfield suffered its first loss to a Division III opponent Saturday when it lost the first game of a doubleheader 7-3 to Willamette, but the Wildcats earned a split with a 5-2 victory in the second game on a chilly and wet day.
Clayton Truex and Jo Carroll tallied four hits apiece for the Linfield (12-3) offense, with Carroll going a perfect 3-for-3 in the nightcap. Aaron Thomassen threw eight stellar innings to get the victory on the mound, improving to 3-1 on the year.
In the first game, Tiras Koon's three-run homer in the top of the eighth sparked a late offensive surge for Willamette (7-8), which scored six times in the final two frames to break a 1-1 stalemate. The Wildcats scored twice in the eighth to pull to within one, 4-3, before the Bearcats exploded for three more runs in the ninth, capped off with Brad Breier's two-RBI single to center field.
In the second, Thomassen carried a no-hitter through four innings, stymieing the first 13 Bearcats he faced before surrendering a single. He was gifted with a three-run lead in the first, courtesy of consecutive singles from Ben Andrews and Chance Laboda. Linfield added two more in the fourth.