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LINFIELD 10-7, GEORGE FOX 4-0: Wildcats Use Late Big Innings to Hold Off Bruins Twice
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Two late-inning flurries enabled the No. 1-ranked Linfield College Wildcats to pull away from the upset-minded George Fox University Bruins for a Northwest Conference softball doubleheader sweep, 10-4 and 7-0, and push their winning streak to 20 in a row Saturday afternoon here at Del Smith Stadium.
George Fox fell to 16-17 overall and 11-10 in the conference, but did manage to snap a string of nine straight shutout losses to the Wildcats. Eight-time defending conference champion Linfield improved to 32-2 overall and 22-2 in the NWC, moving within two victories of at least a share of its ninth title.
Game 1 - at Linfield 10, George Fox 4
The Wildcats got off to a fast 5-0 start in the 1st as Katy Brosig singled in Jaydee Baxter, who had doubled, and Karliegh Prestianni slugged a grand-slam home run before the Bruins had even retired a batter. George Fox starter Erin Hento (6-6) settled down after that and held the Wildcats scoreless for the next four innings, enabling the Bruins to close the gap.
The Bruins got on the board in the 3rd when Nicole Renteria singled, advanced on a ground out, and scored when Linfield first baseman Staci Doucette made an error on Kris Trindle's infield single. In the 6th, the Bruins scored three times to cut the deficit to 5-4. Felicia Chavez and Kerrianne Davidson hit back-to-back doubles for the first run, singles by Bethany Chriss and Renteria scored Davidson, and an error at short on Kirsten Ankeny's grounder enabled Chriss to cross over.
The Wildcats exploded for another five-spot in the home half of the 6th, however. Ashley Garcia and Jordan Mixsell had RBI doubles in the inning, and Erin Carson and Baxter drove in runs with singles.
Hento went 5.1 innings, allowing nine hits and nine runs with one strikeout and a walk before Rachel Fielder finished up. Karina Paavola (16-1) threw six innings for the Wildcats, surrendering eight hits and four runs, two earned, with eight strikeouts and two walks. Shelby VandeBergh threw a one-hit 7th to close out the win.
Baxter was the only Wildcats with two hits, while Jenny Milton, Chavez, and Renteria had two knocks apiece for the Bruins.
Game 2 - at Linfield 7, George Fox 0
Linfield managed only single runs in the 1st and 3rd innings off george Fox starter Allyssa DenDekker (4-5) before a four-run 5th enabled the home team to get comfotable. In the 1st, Baxter led off with a double, stole third, and scored on a Brosig single. In the 3rd, Baxter reached second on an error at short, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by Emilee Lepp.
Doucette pounded a two-run double to open the floodgates in the 5th, then Prestianni's sacrifice fly to center scored Lepp. Garcia added an RBI single to make it 6-0, and Brosig drove in the Wildcats' final run with a double in the 7th.
Den Dekker went four-plus innings, allowing four hits and four runs, three earned, with three walks. Taylor Whitmore finished up, surrendering four hits and three runs, two earned, with a strikeout and a walk in two innings. Lauren Harvey (14-1) went the distance for Linfield, scattering three hits with nine strikeouts and no walks.
Baxter, Brosig, Doucette and Garcia each had two hits for all of the Wildcats' safeties. Trindle, Chriss, and Mckynna Towery had the Bruins' hits.
NEXT: George Fox will play a conference makeup doubleheader at home Wednesday against Pacific University, first game starting at 2:30 p.m. ... Linfield hopes to clinch a share of the conference championship Saturday when the Wildcats host Willamette University in a doubleheader at 12:00 noon.