Bearcats Swept by Wildcats

McMinnville, Ore. - Willamette was bested by No. 23 Linfield. Linfield put the finishing touches on a four-game Northwest Conference series sweep of Willamette, registering 8-3 and 4-3 victories on Sunday afternoon at the Linfield softball diamond.

The Northwest Conference champion Wildcats completed the regular season with a school record 33 wins, taking all four games from the Bearcats over the weekend. Linfield (33-7, 26-2 NWC) must wait eight days to learn which NCAA Division III regional tournament it will compete in. The playoffs begin May 5.

Willamette finishes its regular season dropping to 16-23 overall and 12-16 NWC.

Wildcats first baseman Stephanie Morgan (So., Portland, Ore.) went 4 for 4 and sent her first home run of the season over the center field fence as Linfield swatted a dozen hits off Bearcat pitchers Teren Edgecomb and Britteny Dearing.

Linfield scored runs in each of the first four innings, including a three-run third that put the Wildcats in control 6-0.

Willamette answered with one run in the fourth and two more in the sixth to avoid its third straight shutout to the Wildcats. Marcie Hagen, Lindsey Braun and Jen Hammond all had two hits as the Bearcats totaled 11 hits of their own on Linfield righthander Liz Coburn (Sr., Albany, Ore.).

Coburn struck out two without a walk to improve to 17-3. Shelly Steinke (So., Canby, Ore.) tripled and stole a pair of bases to raise her season total to 33.

Edgecomb (8-15) gave up eight hits and two walks before giving way to Dearing in the sixth.

The Bearcats made things interesting in the closest game of the series. Morgan doubled twice in to power Linfield to a 4-1 advantage before Willamette narrowed the gap with two runs in the fifth.

Willamette put the winning run on second in the sixth, but Kim Boscacci popped up to end the inning and the Bearcats never threatened after that.

Michelle Morris (Jr., Tillamook, Ore.) pitched the entire contest for the Wildcats, allowing six hits and a pair of walks. She struck out five Bearcats while boosting her record to 15-4.

Bearcats starter Nicole Romero (3-6) took the loss, giving up eight hits without a strikeout. Hagen and Cherisse Stumpf both recorded hits in the nightcap.

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