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LINFIELD 5-14, GEORGE FOX 0-0: No. 1-Ranked Wildcats Shut Out Bruins in DH Sweep
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield College pitchers Lauren Harvey, Karina Paavola and Shelby VandeBergh combined for 16 strikeouts and a pair of shutouts as the No. 1-ranked Wildcats silenced the visiting George Fox University Bruins 5-0 and 14-0 in five innings in a Northwest Conference softball doubleheader Friday evening here at Del Smith Stadium.
Despite the losses, George Fox, now 16-15 overall and 11-8 in the conference, remained in fourth place in the NWC standings and in the thick of the hunt for a conference playoff berth. Linfield, extending its current winning streak to 18 games, clinched the program’s eighth consecutive 30-win season under coach Jackson Vaughan as the Wildcats improved to 30-2 overall and 20-2 in league play.
Game 1 - at Linfield 5, George Fox 0
Harvey (13-1) struck out seven Bruins on the way to a complete-game shutout in the opener, surrendering six hits – all singles – and walking just one. Erin Hento (6-5) went the distance and took the loss for the Bruins, striking out one with three walks while allowing 11 hits.
The Wildcats struck for a pair of runs in the 1st. Jaydee Baxter singled, Emilee Lepp doubled, and Staci Doucette walked to load the bases before Baxter scored on a passed ball, and a single by Katy Brosig delivered Lepp. Haylie Watson’s solo home run in the 2nd, her fifth, made it 3-0. Doucette stroked a two-run double in the 6th following singles by Baxter and Lepp to close out the scoring.
Baxter, Watson, Lepp and Brosig had two hits apiece for the Wildcats. Felicia Chavez and Kerrianne Davidson each had two hits for the Bruins.
Game 2 - at Linfield 14, George Fox 0
Six costly errors, coupled with relentless hitting by the Wildcats and Paavola’s mastery in the pitching circle, spelled doom for the Bruins in the second game, which was called after five innings by the college eight-run ‘mercy’ rule.
Paavola (15-1) fanned seven Bruins while scattering three hits across four innings. VandeBergh closed out the game, striking out two in the final inning. Southpaw Rachel Fielder (5-3) suffered the complete-game setback, allowing 12 hits and seven earned runs with three walks.
The Wildcats exploded for five runs in the 1st, taking advantage of three Bruin miscues while getting four hits of their own. The big blow was a two-run double by Doucette that scored the first runs of the frame. They added an unearned run in the 2nd, and Baxter drilled her fourth home run, a two-run shot, in the 3rd.
A six-run outburst in the 4th sealed the win. Doucette singled in the first run of the inning, Erin Carson hit a sacrifice fly, two runs scored on an error at first, Brosig singled in a run, and Lepp capped the frame with an RBI double.
Baxter had three hits and Watson, Doucette, and Lepp had two apiece for the Wildcats. Jenny Milton had half of the Bruins’ four hits.
The two teams will complete their four-game series Saturday with another twinbill starting at 12:00 noon.