Boxers Drop Two Close Ones To Linfield
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – A young Pacific squad gave No. 9 ranked Linfield a pair of good games Saturday, but the experienced Wildcats prevailed a pair of close contests to sweep a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader Saturday at Roy Helser Field.
The Boxers (7-5, 3-2 NWC) led early in the opener and were tied after four-and-a-half innings, but the Wildcats (8-3, 2-0 NWC) scored six runs in their next three innings behind three hits and a home run by Danny Urness to go on to a 10-4 victory. The nightcap saw a two-run second stand up as Robert Vaughn and Even Hilbert threw a four-hitter to beat the Boxers 2-0.
Travis Koon (Fr., Salem, Ore.), Kevin Schwartz (Jr., Milwaukie, Ore.) and Nate Rasmussen (Jr., Sandy, Utah) each had two hits in the twinbill. Koon had both of his hits in the first game while Schwartz and Rasmussen had one hit in each game.
Pacific opened scoring in the first game when Anson Arakaki (So., Hilo, Hawaii) doubled to score Mike Nagamine (Jr., Aiea, Hawaii) in the second. The Wildcats responded by three in their half of the second on singles by Kevin Allan and Urness and a ground out, and then added one in the fourth on a single by Dustin Smith that scores Urness.
The Boxers tied it with a three-run frame of their own in the fifth. Jared Van Hoon (Jr., Lake Oswego, Ore.) doubled to score Koon before Rasmussen reached on an error that allowed Schwartz and Van Hoon to score.
Linfield took the lead for good in the fifth when Vaughn singled to center field, scoring Cole Bixenman. The Wildcats added three in the sixth on a two-run double by Bixenman and a RBI single by Vaughn, and then plated two more in the seventh on a two-run homer off the bat of Urness.
Ryan Larson earned the win on the mound for the Wildcats, improving to 2-0 on the year. In seven innings, Larson allowed four runs, two earned, on seven hits with seven strikeouts. Jason Sawyer (Fr., Scappoose, Ore.) took the loss, falling to 1-2 on the season, allowing seven runs on 10 hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings of work. Urness and Vaughn each had three hits to lead Linfield.
Vaughn proved to be just as strong on the mound as he was at the plate as he combined with Evan Hilberg to throw a four-hitter against the Boxers in the nightcap. Vaughn improved to 2-1 on the season by allowing three hits and three walks while striking out eight in seven innings. Hilberg earned the save with just one hit and two strikeouts in the eighth and ninth. The two allowed just one Pacific runner past second base.
Linfield would pick up all of the offense they would need in the second against Pacific starter Chad Fahey (Jr., Keizer, Ore.).
With one out, Kevin Allan doubled. Nate McClellan struck out, but reached first by way of a passed ball. Kevin Coleman then followed with a single that scored Allan from second base. Two batters later, Dustin Smith connected for a single to left that scored McClellan for what became the last run of the game.
Fahey posted a solid line in taking his first pitching loss of the season for the Boxers. In six innings, Fahey allowed two runs on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Dan Wolfe (Sr., Warrenton, Ore.) allowed three hits in two innings of relief.
The two teams will conclude their three-game series on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for noon.