Wildcats notch Carnahan’s 600th Victory

Sara Levering, Staff Writer

Linfield baseball ventured down to California for spring break. The ‘Cats dropped a 4-3 contest to Chapman, but bounced back with a double-header against La Verne to help head coach Scott Carnahan get career coaching victories 600 and 601. In Carnahan’s 26th season, he is the all-time winningest coach.

The seventh inning sealed it for Chapman, even though Linfield put up a tough fight. It was Wildcat starter Cason Cunningham, ‘19, his first loss of the year. He finished the day with five strikeouts against five hits, five walks and three earned runs.

In the first game against La Verne the next day, Linfield defeated La Verne 5-3. Ryan Pladson, ‘17, registered two hits at the plate to help Linfield bounce back from their loss to Chapman.

Riley Newman, ‘17, and Matt Strang, ‘18, limited the Leopards to six hits, with Newman earning his third victory of the season and Strange picking up his second save.

Scott Hilpert, ‘17, helped the Wildcats and sparked the offense with a solo home run. The Wildcats overall outhit their hosts 13-6.

The Wildcats’ second victory 5-4 over La Verne ended at 11 innings. Linfield owned a 4-1 advantage before the Leopards tried to bounce back to tie the score. The Wildcats delivered under pressure in the 11th, when Ryan Ross, ‘18, sent a one-out double to the left side of the field to score Pladson for the game-winning run.

Connor Scott, ‘17, registered the win on 5.1 relief innings, working out of dangerous bases-loaded jams in the bottom of the ninth and potential game-tying or losing situation in the 11th, as the Leopards had two runners aboard.

Pladson smashed his third season home run in the first, plating two runs and Linfield scored twice more in the sixth. They totaled 13 runs and 31 hits over three games.

In their final game of the spring break trip, Linfield was taken down by Cal Lutheran 13-9. Cal Lutheran opened a 12-5 lead after three innings. The ‘Cats committed six errors and yielded plenty of baserunners on nine hits, eight walks and two hit batters.

Rediger and Hilpert belted home runs as two of our Wildcats register multiple-hit afternoons.

Cal Lutheran did more damage scoring four times on zero hits. The hosts benefitted from two drawn walks, a hit batter, two errors and a sacrifice fly to make the game 10-5.

Hilpert sent the ball over the fence in the sixth and Pladson shot a double to the right center plating two runs.

On the week filled with baseball, “We played well in every game and this trip every year usually is the tipping point when we lock it in,” said Hilpert.

Pladson echoed this, “we played pretty solid baseball in California. Our bats were going and we were hitting balls hard even when we were hitting into outs. We just need to refrain from beating ourselves in terms of pitching and defense and we are a very dangerous team.”

On the highlight of the week, “The extra inning game win,” said Hilpert. And on the losses, “the first game was kind of a lag game after a long trip of travel, but the Cal Lutheran game we out hit them and had six errors and still were in a position to win that game,” said Hilpert.

“I think the highlight of the trip was our second game against La Verne. We got up early and then lost a bit of momentum. Cal Neely did his job starting on the mound limiting La Verne and then Connor Scott had an absolutely amazing performance out of the bullpen keeping us in the ballgame; and then locking up the game when we got ahead in extra innings. That game really showed our teams persistence and grit when things sometimes didn’t go our way,” said Pladson.

On the results as a whole, “I think our California trip could have obviously gone better because we were 2-2, but I sense that our team has a lot of confidence and momentum coming off the trip which will help us coming back into NWC play,” said Pladson.