Missionaries slip in finale with Linfield

The Wildcats pound 13 hits en route to the 9-4 Northwest Conference baseball victory Sunday.

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Whitman's Chris Andrews (left) tags out Linfield's Kramer Lindell at third base on Sunday.

WALLA WALLA - Whitman couldn't keep pace with the offensive firepower of Linfield here Sunday in the finale of a three-game Northwest Conference baseball series at Borleske Stadium.

The Wildcats pounded out 13 hits, including two long balls, took advantage of a Whitman mental mistake, limited the Missionaries to six hits, including one home run, and completed a three-game sweep with a 9-4 win.

"Our philosophy is that, ‘We want the opposing team to play their very best game in able to beat us,'" Whitman coach Jared Holowaty said. "We haven't done that. We help teams out by manufacturing runs for them. If you make routine plays, you put yourself in a position to be successful. It's tough to do that if you don't execute."

The Missionaries got off on the right foot as starting pitcher Jake Nelson worked a 1-2-3 first inning. Cameron Young reached on a two-out Wildcat error in the home first.

Aaron Cohen followed with a single, and Kyle Moyes drove Young home with a line-drive single into right center. Whitman led 1-0 after one.

Nelson made that stand up to the third before Tim Wilson ripped a home run over the short right-field fence to get the Wildcats even.

A walk, a wild pitch, another walk, and Kramer Lindell delivered an RBI single to give Linfield the lead for good at 2-1.

"You have to execute pitches," Holowaty said. "Fastball in, you have to hit your spot. If you miss, they're going to hit it, which you saw today."

The Wildcats went to small ball to break this one open with a five-run fourth.

Nate McClellan led off with a single, and reached second when Jake Wylie's sacrifice bunt was thrown high to second. Nick Fisher followed with a perfect sac bunt to move McClellan and Wylie to second and third.

"You never go into a game expecting a lot of runs," former New York Yankee and Linfield coach Scott Brosius said. "You try and do some things to get runners in scoring position and try to score them."

The Wildcats did, as Kenny Johnson laid down a suicide squeeze bunt, Linfield's third consecutive sac bunt, that scored McClellan. Whitman failed to cover first on the bunt, and, in that mental lapse, Wylie scooted home from second for a 4-1 Linfield lead.

"You have to execute," Holowaty re-emphasized. "Bunt situation, take the out, execute. If you don't execute against these teams, they're going to take advantage of it."

The Wildcats made Whitman pay, as following a walk to Wilson, Kevin Allan blasted a three-run bomb into the left-field scoreboard and Linfield led 7-1 heading to the home fourth.

Whitman fought back with an RBI double from MacLean Harned in the fourth, a Young sacrifice fly in the fifth, and a line-drive home run to left off the bat of Peter Valentine in the sixth, but the Wildcats tacked on two in the sixth and led 9-4 after six.

"We've got talent on this team," Holowaty said. "At times, we just play like a very young team. We've got too many young guys that have too much experience now, and we should be coming together. We want to keep making steps."

The Missionaries got six hits, one each from six different hitters, and Spencer Hobson and Cohen came on in relief to blank the Wildcats over the last three innings.

"Our hitters did a good job of adjusting," Holowaty added. "We didn't get good at bats yesterday (in Linfield's doubleheader sweep), our hitters were just pesky today. We have a lot of feisty hitters."

Linfield, in its quest for a NWC three-peat, improves to 9-3 in NWC action with the three-game sweep.

"We haven't been playing that well, haven't been swinging the bats like we hoped, for the last couple of weeks," Brosius said. "We were able to get the bats moving a little bit and drive some pitches with authority. That (hitting) was an encouraging part of the weekend."

Whitman drops to 2-7 in conference and travels to George Fox for a weekend series with the Bruins starting Saturday.

Linfield 9, Whitman 4

Linfield 002 502 000 - 9 13 2

Whitman 100 111 000 - 4 6 1

Brandon, Cameron (6), Haddeland (8), Metzsch (9) and Wylie, Chamberlain (4); Nelson, Lambert (5), Hobson (7), Cohen (8) and Harned.

HR - Linf: Wilson, Allan; Whit: Valentine.

Hits - Linf: Lindell 3, Wilson, Allan 2, McClellan 2, Johnson, Fisher, Truex, Harlow, Boustead; Whit: Cohen, Moyes, Harned, Madden, Valentine.

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