SPOKANE, Wash. – Visiting Linfield completed a sweep of a Northwest Conference baseball series at Whitworth University with a 13-0 win in the finale on Sunday afternoon. Earlier on Sunday the Wildcats finished off a 9-3 win in the series' second game, which was suspended by darkness on Saturday evening.
Linfield improves to 19-14 overall and 13-8 in the NWC, clinching a spot in the upcoming NWC tournament. The Pirates fell to 14-18, 9-12 and need help to qualify for the conference playoffs after dropping to seventh place in the standings.
Whitworth will close out the NWC regular season next weekend with three games at Pacific (Ore.).
Game 2: (Completion of Saturday's Suspended Game) Linfield 9, Whitworth 3
Neither team pushed across any runs in the final two innings, which were played on Sunday after darkness suspended play on Saturday.
Daniel Zavala drove in three runs, including a two-run homer in the top of the fourth, to help Linfield grab a big early lead on Saturday.
The Wildcats scored two runs on only one hit in the top of the first. Cameron Fox drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the first run. Brady Rediger scored on a sacrifice fly by Jared Evans. Rediger added a sacrifice fly in the second for a 3-1 lead and Zavala's homer in the fourth increased the margin to 5-0.
Whitworth got a run back in the bottom of the fourth on Nicholas Nerud's RBI single. Spender Locati had a two-out, two-run single in the fifth the cut the margin to 5-3.
Linfield added an unearned run on the top of the sixth when Jake Dennis came home after a Whitworth throwing error on Colton Robinson's sacrifice bunt.
Two more runs came home on a Whitworth error in center field in the top of the seventh. Alec Cook added an RBI single to increase the margin to 9-3.
Cal Neely (3-5) earned his third win of the season by allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits in seven innings. Kameron Walker tossed the final two frames on Sunday.
Brady Simmelink (3-2) started for Whitworth and allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits and three walks. Tim Bever threw two innings of relief and gave up three runs (two earned) on two hits and two walks. Jake Briones and Bradley Tiefenthaler closed out the game for Whitworth on Sunday.
Game 3: Linfield 13, Whitworth 0
Ryan Ross went 3-5 with five RBIs to lead the hitting and Carter Buuck pitched five stellar innings to earn his sixth win of the year.
The Wildcats scored their first five runs on home runs. Zavala's two-run shot to right field in the top of the second inning was his second homer of the series and got Linfield on the board.
The Wildcats broke open the game with seven runs in the top of the third. The first three scored on a three-run homer to left by Ross. Linfield reloaded the bases in the inning and pushed four more runs across, including a run-scoring single by Zavala for his third RBI of the day.
Ross added a two-run single in the fifth to increase the lead to 11-0 and the Alec Cook had a two-run single in the ninth to complete the scoring.
Buuck, Matt Strang and Taylor Boos combined on a five-hit shutout for Linfield. But it was Buuck who was most dominant, allowing only one hit and no walks through five innings with four strikeouts. He improved to 6-2.
Matthew Young (3-5) allowed eight runs (seven earned) on seven hits and two walks in 2.2 innings. T.J. Orchard pitched the rest of the game for Whitworth and gave up five runs (four earned) on ten hits in 6.1 innings of work.
Joel Condreay went 3-3 at the plate for Whitworth, accounting for most of the Pirates' hits in the game.