Oregon Tech (#13 NAIA) Defeats Willamette (#6 Division III), 10-5 and 8-3

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

(SOFTBALL) SALEM, ORE. -- The Oregon Institute of Technology pounded out 27 hits in two games and pitchers Jenni Bittle, Bess Fagan and Keri Gesner combined for 10 strikeouts and just one walk during the doubleheader, as the visiting Owls defeated Willamette University, 10-5 and 8-3, on Wednesday, March 28. Oregon Tech, ranked #13 in the NAIA, improved to 17-3-1 on the season. Willamette, ranked #6 in NCAA Division III, fell to 9-6 overall.

In the first game, Oregon Tech broke a 4-4 tie with two runs in the fourth inninng, then added two more runs in the fifth to take command of the game. In the second contest, the Owls led 7-0 after three-and-a-half innings on their way to completing the sweep.

Both teams posted multiple runs in the first inning of the opening game. Oregon Tech took a 3-0 lead on three hits, including a two-out double by Jenni Bittle to drive in the first run. Bittle scored later in the inning on a single by Sunceray Titus. Kristiann Kinsman added an RBI single to complete the scoring.

Willamette answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. An infield single by Liz Gilgan (Jr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) and a bunt single by Nicole Wallace (Fr., C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) started the rally. Gilgan stole third and Wallace advanced to second, before Molly Barnes (Sr., 3B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) hit an RBI single to left field. Two more runs scored on a double by LaShawna Holcomb (So., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) and one scored on a sacrifice bunt by Geneva Hale (Jr. Shoreline, WA/Shorecrest HS).

The Owls equalized in the second inning, when Fagan doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a double by Amanda Doherty. Oregon Tech broke the tie when Doherty blasted a two-run homer with two outs in the fourth inning. Kinsman and Fagan added RBI singles in the fifth inning, as OIT's lead increased to 8-4.

Bittle threw a complete game for OIT. She allowed 10 hits, but struck out three batters and gave up just one walk. She improved to 8-2 on the season. Willamette reliever Leighann Auer (Fr., Independence, OR/Central HS) gave up five runs in four innings and fell to 4-2 with the loss.

A trio of Owls registered three hits in the opener. Kinsman was 3 for 3, while Doherty went 3 for 4 and Bittle was 3 for 5. Willamette was led by Gilgan and Holcomb, each with a 2-for-4 performance.

Bearcat right fielder Caitlin Waugh (Fr., Lodi, CA/Tokay HS) ran head-first into the chain-link outfield fence after just missing a diving catch in the fourth inning. She avoided serious injury, but was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

Oregon Tech put three runs on the scoreboard in the first inning of the second game. Haylett sent a triple down the left field line to start the inning, then scored when the third batter, Doherty, singled through the right side. Bittle added an RBI double and Fagan provided an RBI single.

The Owls extended the lead with three runs in the third stanza. Bittle doubled, then Ttus singled to center field. The runners moved up a base on a passed ball, then scored when Fagan homered to left center. Doherty added a run in the fourth inning for a 7-0 lead and belted a solo homer in the sixth inning for the game's final score.

Willamette plated three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Back-to-back singles by Barnes and Holcomb started the inning. Katie Peterson (Fr., C/OF, Independence, OR/Independence HS) drove in the first two runs with a single up the middle. Hale brought in the final run with a ground out to second base.

Fagan struck out five batters in four innings to record the win. She upped her record to 3-0. Gilgan, who threw the first 1/3 of an inning for WU, took the loss. She is 0-1 on the season.

Oregon Tech's 11 hits in the second game included two each from five batters. Doherty led the way by going 2 for 3 with three runs and two RBIs, as she finished the day 5 of 7. Fagan went 2 for 4 with a run and five RBIs.

For the Bearcats, Peterson was 3 for 3 with two RBIs. Barnes went 2 for 3 with a double and a run scored. Debra Bohren (Fr., RF, Tillamook, OR/Tillamook HS) also went 2 for 3.

Willamette will host Lewis & Clark College in a Northwest Conference doubleheader on Thursday, March 29, starting at 2 p.m. (PDT). The doubleheader was originally scheduled for Feb. 24, but was postponed due to the weather.

Game #1 - Oregon Tech 10, Willamette University 5 - Box Score
Game #2 - Oregon Tech 8, Willamette University 3 - Box Score