Wildcats Sweep Whits, Stay Atop Standings
News Release Date:
Saturday, March 19
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Linfield remained atop the Northwest Conference baseball standings with a 15-7 and 8-0 doubleheader sweep of visiting Whitman College Saturday afternoon in McMinnville, Ore.
The Bruins improved 7-1 in the NWC (13-4 overall) while dropping Whitman to 2-6 in conference and 3-16 overall.
Jay Richards, one of the few seniors on a young Whitman roster, paced the Missionary offense with five hits in nine trips to the plate in the two games. That boosted his team-leading batting average to .392 on the season.
Linfield jumped in front 4-0 after the first three innings of Saturday's first game and then broke it open with seven more runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Whitman plated its first run in the top of the fifth when freshman Kyle Buckham singled, sophomore Chris Andrews walked and Richards stroked a two-out single to center.
The Missionaries threatened again with two outs in the top of the seventh. Freshman Jimmy Madden walked and moved to third when Richards doubled to center. A strike-out left both runners stranded.
Whitman did most of its scoring in the eighth, scoring six times on three hits to draw within reach at 11-7.
Korsmo was hit by a pitch, freshman Kyle Moyes singled and Buckham drew a two-out walk to load the bases. After freshman David Fleming collected an RBI the hard way, getting hit by a pitch, freshman Jonny Lari got his RBI the easy way with a base on balls.
Richards and freshman Cam Young then capped the big inning with back-to-back two-run singles.
Richards and Young finished with five of Whitman's eight hits in the opener. The Missionaries also drew eight walks -- two each by Buckham and Andrews -- but left 12 runners left on base.
Linfield countered with its final four runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Wildcats finished with 19 hits against three Whitman pitchers.
In game two, Whitman threatened in the top of the first inning against Ryan Larson, the reigning NWC Pitcher of the Year. After Madden and Richards led off with singles, senior Erik Korsmo beat out an infield single to load the sacks.
Larson fanned the next hitter to end the threat.
The Wildcats touched Whitman starter Jake Nelson for two runs in the bottom of the first on a base on balls and Kevin Smith's second home run of the season.
After Linfield stretched its lead to 3-0 with a run in the bottom of the fourth, Whitman made some more noise in the top of the fifth. Singles by Madden and Richards, followed by a passed ball, gave the Missionaries runners at second and third with two outs, but Larson picked up another strike-out to end the inning.
Linfield made it 5-0 with two runs, one of them unearned, in the bottom of the fifth.
Whitman threatened again in the top of the sixth. To start the inning, freshman Casey Minnick was hit by a pitch and Korsmo singled. Freshman Aaron Cohen then singled to right field to load the bases with just one out.
But Larson closed out his final inning with his seventh strike-out and a ground out to second. Larson gave gave up eight hits (no walks) and stranded nine Whitman runners in his six innings of work.
After Linfield tacked on three more runs in the sixth and seventh innings, Whitman put its final runner in scoring position when Cohen led off the ninth with a double to left. Jacob Nolte, the third Wildcat pitcher, closed the door with two strike-outs and a ground ball.
Whitman got two hits each from Richards, Korsmo and Cohen in Saturday's nightcap.
The two teams complete their weekend series with a single game at noon Sunday.
Whitman returns home next weekend to host George Fox in a three-game series that starts with a noon doubleheader on Saturday, March 26.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com