Five-Run Wildcat Fourth Proves Costly for Baseball Whits
News Release Date:
Sunday, March 18
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- A five-run fourth inning was the difference as Linfield handed Whitman College a 9-4 setback in Northwest Conference baseball action Sunday afternoon at Borleske Stadium.
Linfield ran its record to 9-3 in NWC and 12-4 on the season. Whitman slipped to 2-7 in conference and 2-19 overall.
Whitman landed Sunday's first punch, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when a trio of Missionary sophomores took advantage of a two-out Linfield infield error.
Cam Young reached on the error, raced to third on a single to right field by Aaron Cohen and strolled home when Kyle Moyes drilled around single to right.
Jake Nelson, the only senior on Whitman's roster, started on the mound and fanned two Wildcats in each of the first two innings, although he had to work around Kramer Lindell's lead-off double in the second.
Following a strike-out and base on balls, Nelson threw a third strike past Jake Wylie as Lindell broke from second on his way to third. Freshman catcher MacLean Harned completed the strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play, gunning down Lindell at third.
Nelson got two quick outs on infield pops in the third inning before running into trouble. After Tim Wilson drove a long home run to right field to even the score at 1-1, two walks set the stage for Lindell, who rapped an RBI-single past the third baseman, giving the visitors at 2-1 lead.
Linfield turned to small ball to jump start its five-run fourth. The Wildcats moved runners to second and third, thanks to a bloop single, infield throwing error and sacrifice bunt, and then scored two runs on Kenny Johnson's suicide squeeze bunt.
The first run scored easily and Johnson reached safely at first when the second baseman was late getting to the bag to take the throw. As the throw went to first, Wylie barreled around third and beat the return throw to the plate.
After the next hitter drew a base on balls, Kevin Allan lofted a three-run homer over the left-field wall to stake the Wildcats to a 7-1 lead.
Whitman got a run back in the bottom of the fourth when Moyes walked, moved to second on a ground-out, stole third base and scored on Harned's double down the right-field line.
The Missionaries trimmed their deficit to 7-3 with a run in the bottom of the fifth. Freshman Jonny Chow led off with a bunt single, scooted to third when sophomore Jimmy Madden doubled down the right-field line and scored when Young ripped a line-shot RBI-sacrifice fly to the base of the wall in left.
The next hitter, Cohen, nearly added to Whitman's run total with a long fly to left that drifted foul by a few feet. Cohen later flew out to left to end the inning.
Linfield stuffed some cushion back into its lead with a pair of two-out runs in the top of the sixth. After Lindell singled up the middle, Clayton Truex and Nate McClellan smacked back-to-back RBI-doubles, upping the Wildcat lead to 9-3.
Whitman freshman Peter Valentine quickly made it a 9-4 game when he launched a liner over the left-field fence in the bottom of the sixth. It was his second home run in as many days.
That was it for the scoring, however. Three relievers - Casey Cameron, Chris Haddeland and Spencer Crepeaux -- blanked Whitman over the final three frames while sophomore Brett Lambert and Cohen did the same to the Wildcat offense.
Zach Brandon started on the hill for Linfield and went five innings, giving up two earned runs on a five hits.
Lindell had three hits to pace Linfield's 13-hit attack. Allan and McClelland added two hits apiece.
Six different players had one hit each for Whitman. Three of those players -- Madden, Moyes and Harned -- also reached base on walks.
Linfield returns home next weekend to host Whitworth in a three-game set while Whitman hits the road to play George Fox. The Whitman-George Fox series has been moved to Concordia University in Portland.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org