Pirates Softball Loses Pair to No. 8 Linfield - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Pirates Softball Loses Pair to No. 8 Linfield

Whitworth came up short in its doubleheader with Linfield. Whitworth came up short in its doubleheader with Linfield.

by Whitworth University Sports Information

SPOKANE, Wash. – Timely hitting led the eighth-ranked visiting Linfield Wildcats to a pair of wins against the Whitworth University softball team in Northwest Conference action at Marks Field on Saturday.

Whitworth falls to 22-10 on the season, with a 14-6 record in the NWC. Linfield improves to 26-6 overall, 20-2 in the NWC.

The Pirates host the Wildcats in a Sunday doubleheader, with game one getting underway at 12:00 p.m.

Game 1 – Linfield 7, Whitworth 3

Linfield opened the series with an RBI double and a two-run homer in the top of the first to take an early 3-0 lead over Whitworth. The Pirates went down in order in the bottom of the inning, but retired the Wildcats in a one-two-three order in the top of the second to keep the score 3-0.

Senior Julia Johnson led off the bottom of the second with a single up the middle. With runners on the corners, junior Riley Fritz's RBI single to right field pulled Whitworth within two, 3-1, after a pair of innings. The teams combined to strand five base runners in the fourth, but each team plated a run, making the score 4-2.

The Wildcats used three hits to score three runs in the top of the fifth and extend to a 7-2 lead. Whitworth put a pair of runners on after back-to-back Wildcat errors and a sacrifice fly from Johnson allowed senior Makenzie Hope to score. The Pirates limited the Wildcats to just two hits in the final two innings, but could not close the gap and Linfield took the series opener 7-3.

Karina Paavola (14-3) earned the win, allowing one earned run on three hits with two walks and nine strikeouts in five innings in the circle. Riley Fritz (3-1) took the loss, giving up four runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in four innings.

Game 2 – Linfield 2, Whitworth 0

Defense highlighted Saturday's second game as neither team was able to get more than one hit in an inning until the top of the sixth. Whitworth looked to put the first run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third as Makenzie Hope moved to third on a wild pitch, but was called out sliding into home.

The Wildcats scored the go-ahead run on a RBI double from Katie Brosig and added to the lead as Erin Kinney doubled down the left field line, allowing Brosig to score. Linfield threatened to extend the lead in the top of the seventh, with bases loaded and one out, but the Pirate defense ended the inning before Linfield could score.

Down to the last out of the game, senior Taylor Gilbert singled up the middle, but junior pinch runner Sacha Clow was stranded as Karina Paavola recorded her third strikeout of the inning to seal the 2-0 victory for the Wildcats.

Freshman Kayla Batastini was 2-2 at the plate for Whitworth.

Shelby VandeBergh (8-2) earned the shutout win, allowing two hits with one walk and 11 strikeouts in six innings. Freshman Makayla Lefever (3-2) allowed two runs on six hits with one walk and one strikeout.