By one run in each game, Lewis & Clark falls to nationally-ranked Linfield

By one run in each game, Lewis & Clark falls to nationally-ranked Linfield

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A RBI double by Lindsay Yearman and a single by Jenai Rojo that brought in a run tied the game for the Lewis & Clark Pioneers before falling in the ninth inning, 3-2, to the No. 11 Linfield Wildcats on Thursday afternoon.

Playing at Concordia University's Porter Park, Lewis & Clark starter Kaili Akimseu threw all nine innings and had four strikeouts. In her two starts against the Wildcats, Akimseu (1-6) pitched a total of 16 innings and gave up four runs with nine strikeouts, including a win 7-1 on Monday.

"Kaili has been amazing," said sophomore Zoe Juarez, who played shortstop in the opener on Thursday and had a stolen base. "She's just been shutting them down, especially Linfield. They can hit. They can hit. She's been shutting them down, especially with Ariel [Trinidad's] help behind the plate calling the pitches."

Linfield (21-4; 10-3 NWC) was hitting .322, the second-best average in the Northwest Conference, but the Pios forced 19 of their 27 through the infield, either on strikeouts or an out made by an infielder.

"We talk a lot. It's trust," said Juarez on the reason for the infield's success on Monday. "We trust each other a lot in the infield."

Katelyn Duilio reached base twice on a hit and a walk, scoring on Yearman's double in the sixth. She entered the game as the team's leading hitter with a .359 average.

"It's been super easy because my team is super nice and has everyone's back," said Duilio about integrating with her new teammates as a freshman. "It's been amazing. We have great energy and I love it."

Jacinda Swiger, Alissa Buss and Alex Andreotti had multi-hit games for the Wildcats. Andreotti's second went to right field and brought in the go-ahead run. Brynn Lio had two stolen bases, and Shelby Saylors (8-3) allowed two unearned runs on seven hits for a complete-game win.

Game 2

Danielle Duman's home run was the only score allowed by Lewis & Clark starter Kalin Rooney in a 1-0 loss to the Wildcats in the second game.

The victory gave Linfield a 3-1 win in the series, which started on Monday with Lewis & Clark batting as the home team at Linfield's Del Smith Stadium.

Ariel Trinidad had a pair of hits, but two pick off plays on Pioneers' runners at second base hurt Lewis & Clark's ability to bring in a run. Lindsay Yearman hit a leadoff double in the fourth, but was thrown out by catcher Emily Allen to second baseman Kenzie Schmoll. The pair did it again in the fifth when Katelyn Duilio was thrown out after pinch running for Trinidad. The Pioneers didn't have another baserunner the rest of the game.

Once again, Lewis & Clark held Linfield to low run totals by forcing infield plays. Jenai Rojo had a season-high 14 putouts at first base to go with two strikeouts by Rooney and two by shortstop Tiana Rosario, including a double play in the third inning.

"I knew exactly where to throw it to her because she was going to be there and she knew I had the ball to give to her," said Juarez, who played at second base in the finale. The play cleared the bases after Schmoll reached on an error.

"If one person makes an error, we know we're going to pick each other up," said Juarez. "The pitchers, especially, as hard as they work. It's just the plays we have to make to make it easier on them."

In neither of Linfield's two prior NWC series had the Wildcats been held to one run more than once, and the Pioneers did it twice over the four-game series. Lewis & Clark has been error-free in four of its last six games.

For Lewis & Clark, Rooney (2-7) pitched all seven innings and gave up six runs with two strikeouts against 29 batters. Brooke Chapman (8-1) earned the complete-game win for Linfield, allowing five hits with one strikeout.

Lewis & Clark (3-19; 3-15 NWC) hosts Willamette for a four-game series this weekend including Senior Day on Sunday.

"We have to focus on everybody giving everything they've got," said Duilio about how to send the seniors out on a good note. "Diving for the balls and hitting. We need to hit."

First pitch with Willamette is noon on both Saturday and Sunday at the Huston Sports Complex.

Other Northwest Conference Games - Thursday

Whitworth 1, George Fox 0
Pacific Lutheran 9, Pacific 8
Whitworth 5, George Fox 2

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