Linfield softball splits doubleheader, game three postponed

Joe Stuart, Staff Writer

The Linfield softball team split their first two home games of the season on Saturday, beating the Willamette Bearcats (5-1, 5-1) 3-2 in game one in thrilling fashion, but losing game two 8-5.

The Wildcats (3-3, 6-4) sent Maddy Dunn, ’19, to the mound in the home opener, and Dunn recorded her third win of the season in her fifth appearance.

Dunn threw a complete game, allowing five hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

Both teams were scoreless till the top of the fourth inning, when the Bearcats took a 2-0 lead.

Both runs were unearned, with Willamette batters Steffany Dunn and Promise Burnett reaching and recording RBIs thanks to Linfield errors.

Things looked dire for Linfield late in the game, still down 2-0 going into the bottom of the seventh inning.

Jacinda Swiger, ’19, led off for the Wildcats and started off strong with a base hit.

Linfield then benefited from clutch power-hitting when Danielle Duman, ’18, homered to tie the game at 2-2.

It was Duman’s first home run of the season. Last year she hit a NCAA Division-III leading 20 home runs.

Following Duman’s home run, it looked like the game could go to extra innings, with the next to Linfield batters flying out.

But even with two outs, Linfield leadoff hitter Alissa Buss, ’17, was able to draw a walk. A single from Cheyenne Fletcher, ’18, put Buss in scoring position on second for Melanie Oord, ’18.

A quick single to right field from Oord was all Buss needed to score and give her team the win.

Game two saw early offense from both teams.

In the top of the first, Willamette was able to load the bases on Linfield pitcher Brooke Chapman, ’18. Chapman then hit Bearcats leftfielder Danielle Saunders with a pitch to give Willamette their first run.

Victoria Bradshaw then came to the plate for Willamette and singled to right field.

Strong defense from Linfield only allowed one run on the bases loaded play, getting an out on a play at the plate.

Linfield’s lone run in the first came when Paige Smotherman, ’19, singled to bring in Fletcher who had doubled.

Willamette’s offense saw big production in inning two to extend their lead.

With runners on first and second, Bearcats catcher Alex Shield singled, but an error by Linfield centerfielder Darian Stedman, ’19, allowed Shields to advance to third and score both base runners.

After allowing two more base runners following Stedman’s error, and with still only one out, Chapman was pulled early for Shelby Saylors, ’19.

Saylors allowed one more run in the second inning off of a RBI base hit by Saunders to put Willamette up 5-1.

Thanks to sacrifice plays by Kenzie Schmoll, ’18, and Buss, Linfield was able to cut into the deficit and make the game close again at 5-3.

Linfield tied the game up when Erin Tauscher, ’18, hit a home run with Smotherman on base to make the game five all.

The Bearcats broke the tie in the fifth inning when Kathryn Moore hit a three-RBI double for Willamette to put them up 8-5.

It would be all Willamette needed to get the win, as the Wildcats could not rally in the final three innings.

A rubber match was scheduled for Sunday, but was canceled due to inclement weather conditions.

Linfield travels to Georgia next weekend for the 2016 NFCA Division-III leadoff classic. They’ll start the tournament by playing Trine University.

When the Wildcats return to the west coast, they will take on Pacific University in Forest Grove, then return home for a series with Lewis and Clark.