McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield College pulled out a 3-2 win in 11 innings in the second game of a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader with visiting Whitworth University to sweep both games on Saturday afternoon at Roy Helser Field. The Wildcats won the opener 14-4.
Linfield improved to 19-9 overall and 14-5 in the NWC, moving into first place by percentage points ahead of Pacific Lutheran. The visiting Pirates fell to 18-12 and 9-11 in the NWC, one game behind Whitman for fourth place in the league standings.
The teams will complete the series with two more games on Sunday, beginning at noon. Only the first game on Sunday will count toward the NWC standings.
Game 1 – Linfield 14, Whitworth 4
Ben Andrews hit a three-run homer while Scott Hilpert hit his league-leading 12th home run of the season to lead the Wildcats to the win in the opener.
Ryan Bird hit a three-run homer for the Pirates, but that came in the top of the ninth inning after Linfield had taken a 14-1 lead. Jordan McGowan's solo home run, his fifth of the year, pulled the Pirates to within 4-1 in the top of the fifth.
Hilpert's homer came in the top of the third, giving Linfield a 4-0 lead. Andrews' home run capped the Wildcats' five-run rally in the bottom of the sixth that extended Linfield's lead to 8-1. The 'Cats added another five-run rally in the bottom of the eighth, which was capped by Alex Hendra-Brown's two-run shot.
Ryan Kingma started on the mound for Whitworth and fell to 3-3 after allowing six runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings. Tim Bever (three runs allowed) and JD Page (five runs) finished up the game for the Bucs.
Cason Cunningham improved to 4-1 after allowing one run on three hits in seven innings.
Game 2 – Linfield 3, Whitworth 2 (11 innings)
Cameron Fox's pinch-hit home run leading off the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Wildcats the doubleheader sweep on Saturday.
Fox's home run capped a pitchers' duel between both squads. Whitworth starter Matthew Young went eight innings and allowed two runs on five hits and no walks. He struck out two batters. Kelly Fitzpatrick (1-3) went 2+ innings and allowed only one hit, but it was Fox's homer.
Riley Newman started for Linfield and went nine innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and one walk. He struck out seven Pirates. Matt Strang (3-2) picked up the win with two innings of hitless relief.
Linfield took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second after Ryan Pladson led off with a single and went to third on a double by Ryan Ross. Both scored on consecutive gound outs by Jared Evans and Kekoa Kaulukukui.
Whitworth cut the lead in half in the fourth when Joel Condreay singled home Matthew Nelson. The Pirates tied the game in the top of the eighth after Nicholas Nerud led off with a double. He moved to third on Nelson's deep fly to center field and then scored on Ryan Bird's sacrifice fly.