Baseball gets sweep to keep playoff hopes alive

Joe Stuart, Staff Writer

The Linfield Wildcats (20-14, 12-9) got their first sweep of the season this weekend in Walla Walla with wins against the Whitman Missionaries (12-23, 7-14).

Cal Neely, ’18, got the win in game one, pitching six and two-thirds innings in relief of Cason Cunningham, ’19.

Neely allowed two runs off of six hits and two walks while striking out four in the 8-4 final.

Eric Lawson led the Linfield offense, ’16, in game one. Lawson had three hits and five RBI’s, with a grand-slam for the highlight of his day.

Lawson’s grand slam would come in a five run third inning for the Wildcats to put them in a 6-2 lead after trailing.

David Mason, ’16, Finn McMichael, ’16, and Scott Hilpert, ’17, all reached to load the bases before Lawson hit a bomb for the grand slam and his fifth homer of the year.

Linfield scored again in the fifth with a two-RBI base hit by Ryan Ross, ’18, to score Lawson and Hilpert to stretch the lead to 8-2.

Whitman would score a run each in the sixth and ninth, but would not be able to rally a comeback in game one.

The ’Cats would take game two thanks to hot bats in extra innings, winning 6-3 through ten innings.

Riley Newman, ’18, would record his Northwest Conference leading seventh win of the season, pitching nine innings and allowing three runs off four hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.

After the Missionaries scored two runs in the bottom of the first, Linfield answered right back to tie it in the top of the second.

A triple by Ross scored Ben Andrews, ’18, all the way from first.

Ross then scored when John Carroll, ’17, grounded out to first, but gave Ross enough time to score.

The tie was broken in the top of the fourth when Ryan Pladson, ’18, hit a solo home run, his third of the season.

Whitman answered back in the bottom of the eighth with a solo shot of their own by Adrian Vela.

With neither team able to score in the ninth, the game went to extra innings.

The ’Cats took the lead in the tenth, with RBI base hits by Pladson, Brady Rediger, ’18, and Mason.

Those three runs were all Linfield needed for closer Cody Walker, ’19, to get the Wildcats the win and his fifth save of the season.

Despite the series already being in the bag, the Wildcats did not let up in game three, winning in a 15-11 slugfest.

It was a game that relied in pitching staffs for both clubs, with the Missionaries using six different pitchers and the Wildcats using five.

Joe Perryman, ’16, would be awarded his second win of the year, entering the game in relief in the fifth inning and pitching two while allowing only two runs off one hit and three walks through two innings.

Ross led the offense in game three, with three hits and five RBI’s. Lawson homered again for his fifth of the season.

Both teams had six-run innings. Whitman’s came first in the bottom of the third to tie the game after allowing two runs in the first and four in the third by the ’Cats.

The Missionaries then took the lead with two runs in the fourth, but it would not last long.

In the top of the sixth, Linfield caught fire, having their six run inning. Two of Ross’s RBIs would come in the sixth, with a two-RBI triple.

Taking a 12-6 lead, the Wildcats would not trail for the rest of the game.

The Missionaries scored three in the seventh to bring themselves within one, but three more Linfield runs in the eighth and ninth innings would stretch the lead and be all the Wildcats needed to get the sweep.

The three wins moved Linfield into a tie for fourth place in the conference standings with Pacific University, and keep the conference tourney hopes alive for the Wildcats.

The regular season ends for Linfield at home next weekend when they host the George Fox University Bruins in their final home games of the year.