March 28, 2007
PORTLAND, Ore. --- The Portland baseball team got hot early and didn't look back, scoring 12 runs in the first three innings en route to a 13-6 win over Linfield Wednesday afternoon at Joe Etzel Field. The game was the Portland's final outing before West Coast Conference play, which begins this weekend as the Pilots host Santa Clara in a three game series.
The 13 runs tied the season-high offensive output for Portland, who also scored 13 runs in a win over Washington in February. The Pilots (12-12) also had a season-high 17 hits, a feat the team also accomplished against the Huskies. The Wildcats (10-10) finished with 11 hits in the game.
The hits and runs came early and often for the Pilots, as the team plated four runs in the first, three in the second, and five in the third to compile an insurmountable 12-0 advantage. Sophomore Chase Powell lead the offensive explosion, going 3-for-3 with four RBI and a run scored before being replaced midway through the game. With the impressive effort, Powell increased his team-leading batting average to .348.
Senior third baseman Jesse Rodgers also collected three hits, while Justin Pierce, Clayton Shaw and Cory Wiltshire added two each for Portland.
Powell and Shaw drove in runs in the first with back-to-back singles and the Pilots capitalized on a throwing error and sacrifice fly by Rodgers to take a 4-0 lead.
The onslaught continued in the second inning as Wiltshire and Powell highlighted a five-run frame with RBI singles. Portland tacked on three more in the third as Powell struck again with a two-run single.
Freshman right-hander Ben Panther (1-0) picked up the win in relief, tossing two scoreless innings. Mike Nelson (1-0) took the loss for the Wildcats, surrendering seven runs (five earned) in two innings.
Rhett Fenton came off the bench to gather two hits, a run and RBI to lead the Wildcats, while Caleb Kearns also had two hits and an RBI.
Portland enters WCC play with a 12-12 overall record, the program's best start through 24 games since the 2001 season. The pitching staff also boasts an ERA of 4.85, tops since the 2001 roster compiled a collective 4.77 team ERA.
The Pilots will host Santa Clara at Joe Etzel Field on Friday at 3 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday start times are slated for 1 p.m.