SPOKANE, Wash. – Shelby Saylors tossed a four-hit shutout and Kenzie Schmoll went 4-4 to lead Linfield to a 6-0 win over host Whitworth in the opening game of the Spokane (Wash.) NCAA Division III softball regional tournament on Friday afternoon at Diana Marks Field.
The Wildcats improved to 30-13 and advance to face the winner of Friday's second game between Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and George Fox in a winners' bracket game on Saturday at 11:00 am. The Pirates dropped to 29-14 and will take on the loser of the CMS-GFU contest in a loser-out game at 1:30 pm on Saturday.
The regional opener was scoreless through the first four innings and each team made a key defensive stand to get out of an early jam. Whitworth turned a double play in the top of the fourth inning and Linfield escaped a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the bottom of the fourth when Saylor induced consecutive pop-ups.
Linfield broke through with five runs in the top of the fifth inning. Emily Allen, the 9th hitter in the Wildcats' lineup, drove in the first two runs with a single to left field. An infield single and an error at third loaded the bases and kept the inning alive. Melanie Oord, Cheyenne Fletcher and Schmoll all then tacked on one-run singles before Whitworth finally escaped.
Danielle Duman added a home run for the Wildcats in the top of the sixth inning, her tenth of the season.
Schmoll and Oord, who went 3-4, combined to collect exactly half of Linfield's 14 hits.
Saylors, a freshman, improved to 18-4 this season with her 12th complete game and fifth shut out of 2016.
Madi Perez started in the circle and was strong through four innings. She fell to 9-9 after allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits in 4.1 innings. Makayla Lefever allowed one run on seven hits in 2.2 innings of relief.
Chelsey Hayes had two of Whitworth's four hits.