|Linfield head coach Scott Carnahan journeyed to Southern California with 1000 games as the head coach of the Wildcats and will leave with his 600th win.
d3photography.com photo by Steve Frommell
ORANGE/LA VERNE, Calif. – Linfield went 2-for-3 in a trio of close games against nonleague opponents over the weekend, helping head coach Scott Carnahan pocket career coaching victories 600 and 601. The Wildcats dropped a 4-3 contest to Chapman at Hart Park Saturday afternoon before bouncing back with a doubleheader sweep of La Verne Sunday at Ben Hines Field.
Carnahan improved to 601-400-2 in games coached at Linfield. In his 26th season managing the program, he is the all-time winningest coach.
The Wildcats' second victory of the weekend, 5-4 over La Verne, came in 11 innings. Collectively, the ‘Cats (14-8) totaled 13 runs and 31 hits over three games.
SATURDAY: Chapman 4, Linfield 3
A three-run seventh inning helped the Panthers overcome a 2-1 deficit, and Chapman reliever Matt Mogollon yielded just a single baserunner – aside from a solo home run – over the final two innings.
Levi Horner-Villa (Fr., Hoolehua, Hawaii) brought the Wildcats within one to lead off the eighth inning, and Jared Evans (So., Medford, Ore.) punched a one-out single through the left side. But Linfield's offense was shut down the rest of the way as the rally came up short.
In the decisive seventh inning, pinch hitter Tristan Kevitch sent a double to left field before Conner Larkin drew a walk. Jarod Penniman sacrificed both runners into scoring position, and John Wiehe cashed in with a two-RBI single through the right side to put Chapman ahead, 4-2. Wiehe worked his way around the bags on another single and fielder's choice before crossing the plate for the game-winning run on Jared Love's single, one of the Panthers' eight hits on the afternoon.
A leadoff walk and back-to-back singles from Brady Rediger (Jr., Salem, Ore.) and Scott Hilpert (Sr., Spokane Valley, Wash.) helped the Wildcats claim a 1-0 advantage in the third inning, but Chapman knotted the score on a fourth-inning sacrifice fly. Ben Andrews (Sr., Shoreline, Wash.) doubled and scored in the top of the sixth as Linfield briefly regained the lead, 2-1.
Chapman dealt Wildcat starter Cason Cunningham (So., Eugene, Ore.) his first loss of the year. He finished the day with five strikeouts against five hits, five walks and three earned runs.
SUNDAY, GAME 1: Linfield 5, La Verne 3
Hilpert came up a triple short of the cycle and both Andrews and Ryan Pladson (Sr., Sammamish, Wash.) registered two hits at the plate to help Linfield bounce back from the loss to Chapman.
Riley Newman (Sr., Salem, Ore.) and Matt Strang (Jr., Tillamook, Ore.) limited the Leopards to six hits, with Newman earning his third victory of the season and Strang picking up his second save.
Tallying the first of four hits in his first plate appearance, Hilpert sparked the offense with a solo home run, and Ryan Ross (Jr., Yakima, Wash.) drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Wildcats a 2-0 edge after one inning. Consecutive doubles from Hilpert and Andrews plated two more runs for Linfield in the second as the scoring gap grew to four.
Three straight walks and a fielding error helped the Leopards get on the board in the bottom of the third, but La Verne managed just one additional run on a Chris Peres sixth-inning RBI single.
Linfield, meanwhile, tacked on an insurance run in the seventh on Ross' RBI groundout. The Wildcats outhit their hosts 13-6.
SUNDAY, GAME 2: Linfield 5, La Verne 4 – 11 innings
Linfield owned a 4-1 advantage before the Leopards staged a big rally to knot the score in the bottom half of the sixth. But the Wildcats delivered the knockout punch in the 11th, when Ross sent a one-out double to left field to score Pladson for the game-winning run.
Connor Scott (Sr., Tigard, Ore.) registered the win on 5.1 relief innings, working out of a dangerous bases-loaded jam 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 on a Horner-Villa sacrifice fly and Ross groundout RBI.
La Verne hung around, making it a 2-1 game in the bottom of the fifth and tying things up in the sixth. Chris Ligot followed up a Mark Abbate single and double-steal attempt with a base hit up the middle to plate one run, and Anthony Gonzalez sent another ball up the middle for two more runs, bringing the Leopards even at 4-4.
Neither defense yielded much over the next few innings until La Verne had the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth. A fly out to right sent the game into extra innings.
Pladson and Ross combined for five hits and each drove in two runs. Jared Evans (So., Medford, Ore.) went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.
AHEAD: Linfield concludes its Spring Break trip with a single game at Cal Lutheran Monday at 3 p.m.