Cats Squeeze By Whits for Sunday Sweep

News Release Date:
Sunday, March 15

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Scoring four runs in its final two at-bats, Linfield College pulled away for a 6-2 baseball victory Sunday afternoon to complete a doubleheader sweep of Whitman College at Borleske Stadium.

Linfield, which shut out the Missionaries 10-0 in Sunday's opener, raised its record 13-3 on the season and 10-2 in the Northwest Conference.

Blaine Mercado

Whitman, which got a gutty effort from starting pitcher Blaine Mercado in the rain-plagued second game, saw its record fall to 0-4 in the NWC and 1-9 overall.

Sunday's two seven-inning games, like Saturday's two nine-inning contests, were scheduled for the Linfield campus in McMinnville, Ore. The series was moved to Walla Walla to dodge a weekend of steady rain in western Oregon.

The rain finally found Walla Walla at the start of Sunday's second game. With Whitman threatening in its half of the first inning, gusty winds and torrents of rain forced a stoppage of play.

Brian Kitamura

After Patrick Stauffer and Brian Kitamura led off the game with singles and advanced one base on a one-out wild pitch, Linfield starter Mitch Edwards got the second out of the inning on a strike-out. Edwards worked the count full on the next hitter before the deluge forced players from the field.

After a 30-minute delay, Edwards needed just one pitch to finish his second strike-out of the inning and keep Whitman off the scoreboard. The Missionaries threatened again in the third inning when Kitamura singled and Jason Sease walked with two outs, but Edwards again rose to the challenge with an inning-ending strike-out.

Jason Sease

Linfield, which retained its status as the "home team" throughout the four-game series, nicked Mercado for an unearned run in the bottom of the third. Eric Evenson was hit by a pitch, stole second, reached third on a wild pitch and scored when Stauffer wasn't able to make a tough play near the second base bag.

A base on balls and a Whitman infield throwing error gave the Wildcats another unearned run and a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning.

Whitman evened the game at 2-2 with a pair of runs in the fifth. Freshman Sam Schonfeld singled, scooted around to third on a Jay Richards double, and scored on Stauffer's sacrifice fly to center. Sease followed with a single through the left side to plate Richards. 

Linfield, which had managed just two hits off Mercado in its first four at-bats, broke through with two runs in the fifth frame. A base on balls and single set the table for Stew Davis, who singled home one run, and Kevin Coleman, who doubled home another.

After the Wildcats tacked on two more runs in the sixth, Andy Hunthausen pitched the seventh to nail down the win, giving up only a one-out single to Stauffer.

Jay Richards
Sam Schonfeld

Both teams finished the game with seven hits. Stauffer and Kitamura had two hits each for Whitman, as did Coleman for Linfield.

A strong pitching performance by Evan Hilberg and some shakey Whitman defense got Linfield its 10-0 shutout in Sunday's opener. Hilberg went six innings, giving up just two hits -- singles by Richards and Calvin Davis -- while fanning five and issuing just one base on balls.

Whitman starter Pete Stadmeyer tossed five innings and was tagged for all 10 Linfield runs, although only three were earned due to seven Missionary errors.

With Whitman trailing 5-0, Stadmeyer also ran into some tough luck in the fourth inning. With one out and a runner at first, Linfield's Evenson slapped what appeared to be an inning-ending doubleplay ball toward Richards at shortstop. But the ball took a bad hop past Richards and the Wildcats eventually pushed across five runs to blow the game open.

Ty Stanley, Cole Bixenman and Davis had two hits each for Linfield. Bixenman knocked in three runs and Davis two.

Whitman stays at home next weekend to host a four-game series against Pacific University. Doubleheaders will start at noon on both Saturday and Sunday at Borleske.

Linfield travels to Tacoma, Wash., next weekend to play Puget Sound.

Game One Box Score

Game Two Box Score

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.; (509) 527-5902