Tachara and Hale Lead Bearcats to 12-2 Win Over EOU in Season Opener; Willamette Falls 7-2 to OIT in Second Game

SALEM, OR — Led by Geneva Hale’s grand slam in an eight-run fourth inning and Brittany Tachara’s 3-hitter, the Willamette University softball team opened its season with a 12-2 thumping of Eastern Oregon University in the opening game of the Capitol Cup softball tournament Friday at Willamette Field.

The Bearcats lost their second game of the day, this time falling to Oregon Institute of Technology by a 7-2 score despite a home run and double by Molly Barnes.

In the opener, EOU scored twice in the third inning on Meghan Henderson’s 2-run home run, driving in Sheena Lindholm, who had doubled. But those were the only runs Tachara would allow and the Bearcats came right back in their half of the fourth inning to score eight times.

LaShawna Holcomb led off the inning with her first hit as a Bearcat. After an EOU error, designated hitter Marissa Richards doubled home one run. Brittany Dearing tied the game with an RBI single. Then a pair of walks and a hit batter pushed across two more runs before Hale (pictured above) connected on a line shot over the centerfield fence to give Willamette an 8-2 lead.

Willamette scored four more in the top of the seventh when Barnes singled in Schruth and Hale drove home Liz Gilgan and Barnes. Marianne Ward drove in Hale with the Bearcats’ final run.

Every Bearcat had at least one hit in the game. Hale was 25 with six RBI and two runs scored. Holcomb, Ward, Richards and Dearing all had two hits. Schruth, Gilgan, Barnes and Hale all scored twice.

Tachara picked up ten strikeouts for her first win of the season. She allowed three hits and walked two to get the complete game victory.

In the afternoon contest, OIT hurler Jenni Biddle returned the favor to Willamette, allowing only three hits as the Techsters won 7-2 in their first game of the season.

After Barnes put the Bearcats on top in the bottom of the first with a home run over the center field fence, OIT took a 4-1 lead with a single run in the second and three more in the third. Brittany Schlee drove in two runs in that rally.

Willamette made it 4-2 in the third when Barnes’ double drove in Gilgan. But OIT’s Lisa Erwert blasted a 3-run home run in the sixth, driving in Brandi Paxton, who reached on an error and Jackie Chaplin, who had singled. From there, Bittle shut down the Bearcats allowing no hits over the final four innings.

The Capitol Cup continues Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, NW Christian battles Concordia at 9 a.m. and OIT at 11:30. Willamette takes on Concordia at 2 p.m. On Sunday, NW Christian plays EOU at 9 a.m. and Corban at 11:30. Willamette finishes the tourney against Corban at 2 p.m.
Eight other Capitol Cup games are being played at George Fox University over the weekend.