McMINNVILLE, Oregon – Nickolas Alarcio hit his first home run of the season as the Puget Sound baseball team opened its thee-game series at No. 14 Linfield with a 9-5 victory in the first end of a doubleheader on Saturday. Puget Sound came up short in the second game, 4-3.
Puget Sound 9, Linfield 5
The Wildcats (8-5, 2-3 NWC) struck first with a run in the third inning, but the Loggers (4-8, 2-3 NWC) quickly responded in the top of the fourth. Layne Croney led off with a single and swiped second base, and Chris Zerio followed with a bunt single to put runners on the corners.
Following a groundout, Nathan Backes hit a sac fly to centerfield, allowing Croney to tag up and score. Alarcio followed with a two-run blast over the left-field fence to give the Loggers a 3-1 lead. Linfield tied things up, 3-3, with a pair of runs in the fourth. However, Puget Sound tallied three more runs in the seventh.
Following Alarcio's one-out walk, Alex Sierra singled to put runners on the corners. Ben Jones reached base on a fielder's choice that knocked in Alarcio, and an error on the play by the Wildcats' catcher allowed Sierra to take third. James Dejesus ripped a two-run triple to right field, giving the Loggers a 6-3 edge.
Cal Muramaru's two-run double in the ninth inning provided enough insurance for the Loggers. Collin Maier earned his first win of the year after allowing just three earned runs through six innings. He allowed only one walk and struck out four.
Puget Sound 3, Linfield 4
The Loggers claimed a 2-0 lead through 2.5 innings, but Linfield posted two runs in both the third and fourth innings and held on to its lead for the win. Cal Muramaru led off the game by reaching base on an error, and Layne Croney followed with a single. Although Chris Zerio flied into a double play that got Croney out, Muramaru's head's up base running led to a run and a 1-0 Logger lead in the first.
Muramaru made it a 2-0 game with a one-out, solo blast to right field in the top of the third inning.
Puget Sound trailed, 4-2, entering the ninth, but it loaded the bases with one out when Nathan Backes and Alex Sierra were both hit by a pitch, and Ben Jones singled to right field. James Dejesus followed with a one-run single up the middle, but that was the only run the Loggers could muster in the final stanza.
The series' rubber game starts at 12 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28.
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