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Linn-Benton manages only one run during the doubleheader

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PARKER LEE - Mt. Hood CC pitcher Brandon Williams delivers a ball during the Saints 5-1 Game 1 victory. Linn-Benton Community College hoped to gain ground on the Mt. Hood baseball team in the standings when the two schools met on Thursday. The Saints’ pitching staff wasn’t having it.

Mt. Hood swept the afternoon doubleheader (5-1, 6-0) against Linn-Benton behind brilliant efforts by each of its hurlers.

Sophomore Eric Huson got the Saints’ staff going early when he took to the mound in Game 1. Huson was in control from the first pitch and shut down the Roadrunners, who went hitless in the first three innings. A fourth-inning single by Linn-Benton’s Jacob Herklotz was the only base hit allowed by Huson in the first six innings.

Huson was not necessarily overpowering every batter he faced, but he was extremely effective. He only struck out three batters and was content to let the Roadrunners put the ball in play. Even when Linn-Benton hit the ball hard, which did happen a few times, the Saints were there to make the plays. Mt. Hood did make a couple defensive mistakes behind Huson, but not many.

Huson went seven innings, allowing four hits and one run. Joe Piercey and Zev Egli each threw a scoreless inning in relief behind Huson.

Linn-Benton, on the other hand, was done in by its erratic pitching and poor defensive execution.

In the bottom of the third, Linn-Benton pitcher Clark McKitrick walked Marcus Blackmon and Cody Childs to open the inning. Both Saints would come in to score, Blackmon on a passed ball and Childs on a fielder’s choice.

Blackmon and Childs again walked in back-to-back plate appearances in fifth inning. Blackmon eventually came around to score his second run of the day.

One inning later, Jake Thran led off with a single. Linn-Benton’s new pitcher Joel Shippy tried to pick off Thran, but threw it away and Thran hustled around to third. On the next pitch, Thran scored on a sacrifice fly by Shea Coates.

Mt. Hood added one more run in the eighth inning to answer the Roadrunners’ lone run in the seventh. On the first pitch of the inning, Logan Grindy got plunked to earn first base. Grindy moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Thran and then advanced to third on an error by shortstop Austin Hamilton. Another sacrifice fly from Shea Coates brought Grindy home.

Of Mt. Hood’s five runs, four were scored by batters who were walked or hit by pitch. A throwing error by the pitcher led to the other run. Linn-Benton’s wild arms didn’t give the team a chance, especially with how well the Saints’ throwers performed.

In Game 2, Mt. Hood pitchers Brandon Williams and Michael McCall combined to throw a one-hit shutout. At the plate, Hunter Weiss went 3-for-4 and Childs went 2-for-2.

With the sweep, the Saints extended their winning streak to eight games. They now lead Linn-Benton by three games in the NWAACC South Region.

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