Wildcats Slowly Build Lead, Defeat Bearcats, 9-2

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Linfield College scored one run in each of the first two innings, added two in the third, and one each in the fourth and fifth stanzas, to build a 6-0 lead, as the Wildcats defeated Willamette University, 9-2, at Roy Helser Field on Sunday, March 14. The Wildcats swept the three-game Northwest Conference series to improve to 13-5 on the season, 5-1 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 5-9 overall, 2-4 in the NWC.

Tyson Smith led Linfield with a 4-for-4 performance that included a home run and a double. Smith scored three runs and recorded three RBIs. Zach Boskovich went 3 for 5 for the Wildcats, with a home run and two runs scored.

Linfield outhit Willamette, 16-11, during the game, but the Bearcats registered five doubles. Mitchell Rowan (So., RF/DH, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) blasted two of the doubles. Dylan Summers (So., C, Lake Oswego, OR/Lakeridge HS), T.C. Lee (Jr., LF, Lafayette, CA/Acalanes HS) and Tyson Giza (Fr., CF, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) each hit one double.

Smith opened the bottom of the first inning with a single to left field. He moved to second when Dustin Smith followed with a bunt single and scored on a base hit by Kelson Brown. A pop-up and a double play ended the threat.

Boskovich provided the next run with a solo homer to lead off the second inning. Tim Schilf (So., 3B, Honolulu, HI/Iolani School) of Willamette singled to start the top of the third, but was later thrown out attempting to steal second.

In the bottom of the third, Tyson Smith belted a leadoff homer to left field. Rhett Fenton hit an RBI double for Linfield later in the inning to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead.

Brown recorded a sacrifice fly for Linfield in the fourth inning and Robert Vaughn drove in one run in the fifth inning with a double to left field.

WU plated its first run in the top of the sixth. Giza doubled down the right field line to start the inning. One out later, Eli Kass (Fr., Util., Santa Cruz, CA/Santa Cruz HS) walked. Rowan doubled to right center field to drive in Giza. A strikeout and a ground out ended the inning with runners at second and third.

Linfield tallied its final three runs in the eighth stanza. Tyson Smith brought home two runs with a double and Dustin Smith followed with an RBI single.

Summers singled for WU as the first batter in the ninth inning. He moved to third on a double to right field by Lee and scored on a ground out by pinch hitter Adam Reid (So., OF, San Jose, Ca/Lynbrook HS).

Neither team committed an error during the game. Linfield starter Evan Hilberg registered the win and improved to 2-1 on the season. He struck out six batters and allowed six hits, one walk and one run in six innings. WU starter Jerris Van Hess (Aumsville, OR/Cascade HS/College of the Siskiyous) fell to 0-2 with the loss.

Willamette will play a three-game NWC series against George Fox University next weekend at John Lewis Field. The Bearcats and Bruins will play a double-header on Saturday, March 20 and will conclude the series with a single game on Sunday, March 21. Action is slated to start at 12 p.m. (PDT) each day.

Linfield College 9
Willamette University 2
T.C. Lee went 2 for 4 including a double during Sunday's game at Linfield.

T.C. Lee went 2 for 4 including a double during Sunday's game at Linfield.