Ward's Winning Hit Gives Bearcats 6-5 Win in Rain-Shortened Game; Second Game Canceled

TACOMA, WA - Marianne Ward singled in Molly Barnes with the winning run as the Willamette University softball team defeated Pacific Lutheran University 6-5 in a rain-shortened Northwest Conference game at PLU Field Saturday afternoon.

Game one was called after 5.5 innings following a 3:15 rain delay. The second game was canceled.

Ward's winning hit came in the top of the fifth. Molly Barnes walked and went to second when Geneva Hale was hit by a pitch. With two outs, Wards singled to center, knocking in Barnes. Ward was 2-2 with two runs scored and an RBI.

Brittney Tachara (8-5) got the victory, giving up five runs and seven hits in five innings. PLU did not bat in the bottom of the sixth.

The win for the Bearcats puts them at 16-9 in the NWC ( 20-15 overall) and tied with PLU for third place in the NWC behind league-leading Linfield and Whitworth. Those two teams split a doubleheader Saturday.

Marissa Richards gave the Bearcats an early 1-0 lead when she hit her first collegiate home-run in the top of the first with two outs. Richards is batting .356 on the season with a team-high 11 doubles.

PLU came back with three runs in the bottom of the first, two coming on Jen Swope's single.

But Willamette tied the game back up in the top of the second. Hale led off with a double, then went to third on a wild pitch. Ward walked and went all the way to third on a throwing error that allowed Hale to score. Cari Schruth then singled to drive in Ward to tie the game at 3-3.

Willamette got the lead back in the fourth when Ward singled and scored on Bailey Harris's double to left field. Liz Gilgan doubled in Harris and the Bearcats were up 5-3.

PLU responded again with two runs in the bottom of the fourth on Beth Kench's two-run home run. Three more runs were averted when LaShawna Holcomb caught the last out of the inning at the center field fence, setting the stage for Ward's clutch base-hit.

The Bearcats are scheduled to play UPS Sunday. No make-up date for the canceled second game was announced.