Dunn and Gibson Each Hit a Homer, but #18 Linfield Downs Bearcats, 6-1 and 5-2

Darian Gibson (So., LF, Newport Beach, CA/Calvary HS)
Darian Gibson (So., LF, Newport Beach, CA/Calvary HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Linfield College scored three unearned runs in the top of the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie and went on to defeat Willamette University, 5-2, in the second game of a Northwest Conference doubleheader at the WU Softball Field on Tuesday, April 11. The Wildcats also won the first game, 6-1. The doubleheader was originally scheduled to be played on March 5, but was postponed due to the weather.

The Wildcats, who are ranked #18 in the NCAA Division III Top 25 Poll released by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), improved to 30-6 on the season, 19-5 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 13-17 overall, 11-13 in the NWC.

Linfield Scores Four Runs in Fourth Inning of Game 1

In the first game, Linfield pitcher Shelby Saylors threw a complete-game four-hitter. She registered seven strikeouts and allowed only one walk. She upped her record to 14-3.

The Wildcats tallied one run in the first inning and added four runs on five hits in the fourth inning for a 5-0 lead.

Alissa Buss walked and Cheynne Fletcher was hit by a pitch with one out in the first inning. Melanie Oord doubled to left center to score Buss, while Fletcher went to third. Fletcher was thrown out from third to home when Emily Allen hit into a fielder's choice. The bases were loaded aftrer Wein Kinney walked. Darian Stedman fouled out near third to end the threat.

Linfield left two runners on bases in the second inning and two more in the third frame. In the third, Allen singled and Kinney walked with one out. With two outs, Danielle Duman singled to right field. Steffany Dunn (Sr., RF, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) threw home, where catcher Payton Reynolds (Fr., UT, Reno, NV/Reno HS) tagged out Allen.

The fourth inning offensive outburst by the Wildcats included am RBI singles by Buss and Oord, plus a two-run single by Allen.

Dunn smacked a solo home run over the left field fence for Willamette in the fifth inning. It was her team-leading fifth home run of the season. Stedman doubled to open the seventh inning for Linfield and scored four batters later on a single by Buss.

Allen led all players by going 3 for 4 at the plate. She earned two RBIs. Buss, Oord and Jacinda Swiger each added two hits for the Wildcats.

Wildcats Win Battle with 3-Run Sixth Inning in Game 2

In the second game, Mallory Asaro (Sr., SS, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS) hit an RBI double in the first inning to give Willamette a 1-0 lead. In the top of the fifth, Kinney of Linfield blasted a solo homer to left field and Kenzie Schmoll provided the Wildcats with an RBI double.

Darian Gibson (So., LF, Newport Beach, CA/Calvary HS) answered for Willamette in the bottom of the fifth when she powered a solo homer to straight-away center field to tie the score at 2-2.

Linfield moved in front with three runs on two hits and two errors in the top of the sixth.

Fletcher started the sixth by reaching first on a throwing error from third base. Oord hit an infield single to shortstop and Allen followed with an RBI double. Kinney hit into a fielder's choice toward second, but an errant throw home allowed Oord and Allen to score. Stedman flied out to right field and Duman hit a line drive to Asaro that resulted in a 6-4 double play.

Jocelyn Glasgo (Fr., P/OF, Rochester, WA/Tumwater HS) hit a double for Willamette in the sixth inning, but was later thrown out when Kea Gier (Fr., 3B, Kaneohe, HI/Iolani School) hit into a fielder's choice. The Bearcats left Gier on base.

Linfield outhit the Bearcats, 8-6. Allen had two hits to go along with a run and an RBI for the Wildcats. For Willamette, Glasgo went 2 for 3 at the plate.

Tanna Benson, who pitched the last four innings for Linfield picked up the win and is now 1-0 on the season. Glasgo entered the game partway through the fifth inning and faced the first four batters in the sixth. She registered three strikeouts, no walks and three unearned runs, but fell to 2-2 on the season.

Up Next for Willamette

The Bearcats will play a doubleheader at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, on Friday, April 14 at 12 p.m. (PDT). The Boxers will travel to Willamette on Saturday, April 15 to complete the series with two games at the WU Softball Field starting at 12 p.m.