Bearcats sweep George Fox again

SALEM — Taking advantage of their speed on the basepaths to produce the needed runs, the Willamette University Bearcats stole 17 bases in sweeping a Northwest Conference softball doubleheader from the George Fox University Bruins, 6-2 and 2-1, on Tuesday.

The games were originally scheduled for Newberg as makeups of a Mar. 9 twinbill that was rained out, but the rains that fell Sunday night made the Bruins’ Morse Field outfield too soggy again, and the games were switched at mid-day Monday, with George Fox as the “home” team. With only a four-game series against Whitworth College in Spokane left, the Bruins will have gone the entire 2003 season without playing a single game on their home field.

In the opener, the Bearcats collected 13 hits off Lacey Wade (1-13), 4 walks, 5 passed balls, 4 George Fox errors, and 13 stolen bases, yet only scored 6 runs as Wade stranded 10 runners. Only 3 of the runs she allowed were earned. Maria Ortiz and Anna Byers had 3 hits apiece for the Bearcats, while Byers, Jen Hammond, and Tara Jackson led the running game with 3 steals each.

Trailing 3-0, the Bruins tied the game in the 4th with 3 unearned runs off Teren Edgecomb (7-6). Anna Carkin drew a lead-off walk, Cassie Halvorson singled, and both runners advanced on a passed ball. Laura Koval’s infield single scored one run, Halvorson scored on a wild pickoff throw by Bearcat catcher Meredith Runyan, and Koval scored the tying run when first baseman Amanda Lindquist threw wildly to 3rd after Kim Backhaus had grounded out.

The Bearcats broke the tie in the top of the 5th as Ortiz singled, moved up on a passed ball by catcher Elizabeth Hawkins, went to 3rd on a ground out, and scored on another passed ball. Brittany Dearing came on to pitch in the 5th and shut out the Bruins on 2 hits over the final 3 innings to record the save, striking out 5.

The nightcap was a tight pitching duel between the Bedarcats’ Edgecomb (8-6) and Dearing and the Bruins’ Laura Steenson Seratt (4-14). The Willamette hurlers allowed only 4 hits, Steenson Seratt only 5, and all the runs in the game were unearned.

In the Willamette 1st, Marcie Hagen doubled with one out, stole 2nd, and scored as Hawkins’ throw bounced into left field. George Fox tied the game in the 3rd as Sarah Camp drew a two-out walk, moved up on Hawkins’ singled, and scored on catcher Darcy Hertel’s errant pickoff try on Hawkins at 1st.

The Bearcats made a hard-luck loser of Steenson Seratt in the 5th as Edgecomb singled with one out, pinch runner Cherisse Stumpf advanced to 3rd on an error by second baseman Anna Carkin, and Hagen hit a sacrifice fly to right. Dearing came on again in the 5th and threw 3 more shutout innings for a second save on the day.

George Fox, which has now dropped 10 straight, fell to 5-27 overall and 2-22 in the conference, while Willamette improved to 17-12 overall and 15-6 in league play.