Dearing's Home Run Not Enough For Bearcat Comeback; Willamette Drops Two to UPS to End Season

TACOMA, WA - Senior Brittany Dearing hit her first collegiate home run in her last at-bat as a Bearcat, but it was not quite enough to prevent the Bearcats from losing 6-5 to UPS in a Northwest Conference game Sunday afternoon in Tacoma.

The Bearcats lost the first game of the doubleheader 9-2 and complete the season with a 20-17 record, 16-11 NWC. Willamette ends the season in 4th place in the NWC. Linfield won the conference title for the third year in a row with a 22-6 conference record. Whitworth finished second at 21-7. PLU finished third at 17-10.

Dearing, who led the nation in saves last season, moved to the outfield this year. In her final at-bat, with the Bearcats down by three and one runner on base, Dearing homered to center to drive home Geneva Hale and making the score 6-5.

Cirbi Anthony singled with two outs and moved to second on a passed ball, but a groundout ended the Bearcat season.

Puget Sound jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, scoring three times in the second inning on three hits, a walk and two costly Bearcat errors. Senior Laura Milne worked her way out of a bases-loaded jam to end the inning, and allowed only three more runs the rest of the way.

The Bearcats came back with two runs in the top of the fourth. Dearing got one the first of her three RBI with a double down the left field line, driving in Molly Barnes. Nikki Franchi delivered a two-out pinch-hit singles to score Hale and the Bearcats were down 3-2.

UPS scored on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the fourth to make it 4-2. But the Bearcats got back within a run on Marianne Ward's RBI single to drive home Marissa Richards. The Loggers added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, before Dearing's home run brought the Bearcats back within one.

In the first game, Puget Sound jumped out to a 4-0 lead, then exploded for five runs in the sixth to defeat Willamette 9-2.

The Bearcat's two runs came in the fifth inning when Richards and Barnes hit back-to-back doubles. Richards double drove home LaShawna Holcomb, who had reached on an error. Barnes double drove home Richards.

Nikki Franchi took the loss for Willamette, giving up four runs in three innings. Brittney Tachara pitched the final three innings.

Richards was 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Bailey was 2-2 for the Bearcats.