THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — And the streak continues… Unfortunately, against the Cal Lutheran Kingsmen's favor, as the Linfield Wildcats took game one of the three-game series 5-2, Friday afternoon.
The Kingsmen were, however, the first to get a run on the board and took advantage of a leadoff walk by sophomore Tanner Wright to start the contest. Senior Anthony Sidley followed with a blooper in no-man's territory in right field to move him into scoring position, and a deep fly ball to center from junior Ryan Probst then advanced him 90 feet before a wild pitch brought him home.
Two frames later, junior Daniel Stauffer worked another leadoff walk and advanced all the way to third on a failed pickoff attempt by Linfield's starter, Cason Cunningham. Next up to the plate, Wright knocked the sacrifice fly to right for his team-leading 25th RBI on year.
Up 2-0, the defense picked up Kingsmen starter, Justin Fong, with a perfectly executed 4-6-3 double play in the second to aid him through four shutout innings to start the contest. However, things began to crumble in the fifth as the Wildcats picked up three runs on four hits for the lead.
And though they added just two more runs – on a safety squeeze in the sixth and RBI-single from Brian Cromwell in the eighth – the Kingsmen struggled to find their own offensive groove and succumbed to 5.2 perfect innings of relief from Wildcat sidearmer Matt McDonald.
On the mound for the Kingsmen, Fong allowed four runs in 5.2 innings of work while walking two and fanning two. Taking over for him, sophomore Clay Rickerman allowed just one unearned run on one hit in two innings of relief before handing the ball over to sophomore Zach Hardman who allowed just one hit to shut down the final 1.1 frames.
Aiming to break their offensive slump, the Kingsmen return to George "Sparky" Anderson Field at 11 a.m. tomorrow for a doubleheader against the Linfield Wildcats and Borderline Strong/Country Day. Please join the Kingsmen as they honor the 12 victims of the Borderline Tragedy with a moment of silence and full day of country music and line dancing at the ballpark.
Box Score: LIN 5, CLU 2
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Release by Christy Effendie, Assistant Sports Information Director