No. 1 Linfield gets duo of victories
Wildcats extend winning streak to 20 games on Saturday
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Two late-inning flurries pushed No. 1 Linfield to a Northwest Conference doubleheader sweep of George Fox at Saturday afternoon sun-soaked Del Smith Stadium. The Wildcats prevailed 10-4 and 7-0 to run their winning streak to 20 games.
Eight-time champion Linfield (32-2, 22-2 NWC) moved within two victories of clinching at least a share of its ninth title with four games remaining in the regular season.
For its part, George Fox (16-17, 11-10 NWC) snapped an ugly string of nine consecutive shutout losses to the Wildcats.
In Game 1, a grand slam home run by Karleigh Prestianni, together with a sixth-inning hitting surge, carried the Wildcats to a closer-than-it-looked victory in the opener.
A run-scoring single from Katy Brosig, coupled with Prestianni’s grand slam, gave Linfield a fast 5-0 lead in the first inning.
George Fox notched an unearned run in the third, scoring on a Wildcats fielding error.
Plating three more runs in the top of the sixth, the Bruins looked poised to pull off an upset, trailing by just one run, 5-4. Packaging four hits and an error, GFU was in position to do more damage with the bases loaded and two outs, but Kris Trindle grounded out to end the inning.
Feeling the pressure, the Wildcats awoke, putting up five runs to push lead to six, 10-4. Ashley Garcia and Jordan Mixsell each delivered RBI doubles and Erin Carson added to the total with a single that drove home pinch runner Kristin Herren. Jaydee Baxter added another RBI to cap the five-run explosion.
Baxter, who went 2-for-4, was the only Wildcat with more than one hit. Linfield narrowly outhit George Fox 11-9.
Wildcats starter Karina Paavola recorded eight strikeouts, yielding eight hits and a pair of walks. Paavola improved to 16-1.
Erin Hento (6-6) took the loss for the Bruins, giving up nine hits and nine earned runs over the opening 5 1/3 innings. She struck out one and walked one.
Jenny Milton, Felicia Chavez and Nicole Renteria all had a couple of hits for George Fox.
In Game 2, the Bruins again stayed close with the favored Wildcats for the better part of the game before being swamped by a four-run tidal wave in the fifth inning. Linfield added a single insurance run in the sixth to salt the outcome away.
Tied at 1 to begin the fifth, Staci Doucette pounded a two-run double to open the floodgates, then Prestianni sent a ball deep to the outfield wall that scored Lepp on a sacrifice. Garcia added a RBI single to make it 6-0. Brosig provided a RBI double in the seventh to round out the scoring.
Linfield piled up eight hits, as GFU pitchers Allyssa Dendekker and Taylor Whitmore surrendered four each. Baxter, Brosig, Doucette and Garcia all had two hits in the contest.
Lauren Harvey pitched the complete-game three-hit shutout to run her record to 14-1. She struck out nine batters without issuing a walk on her way to logging her fifth shutout win of the season.