Bearcats and Lutes Split Doubleheader

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Willamette University and Pacific Lutheran University split a Northwest Conference softball doubleheader on Sunday, April 1, as the Bearcats won the first game 8-0 on the run rule in five innings and the Lutes claimed the second game, 4-3, in nine innings. Willamette ended the day at 13-8 overall, 7-5 in the NWC. Pacific Lutheran went to 11-6 overall and to 5-5 in the NWC.

In the first game, Willamette pitcher Nikki Franchi (So., RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) allowed just two hits in five innings and Geneva Hale (Jr., 1B, Shoreline, WA/Shorecrest HS) belted two home runs, as the Bearcats pulled away from the Lutes for the run-rule win.

Willamette led 2-0 in Game #2, after scoring twice in the first inning. Molly Barnes (Sr., 3B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) provided an RBI single and LaShawna Holcomb (So., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) added an RBI double. PLU eventually pulled within 2-1 with a run in the fourth inning.

Franchi threw the first six innings and started the seventh in the second game. She allowed just three hits during the first six innings, but walked the first two batters in the seventh. Casey Jarzombek-Clark (Jr., RHP, Aloha, OR/Aloha HS) relieved Franchi and forced PLU into back-to-back outs. Jarzombek-Clark then walked Missy Waldron and Lisa Gilbert to bring home the tying run.

The Bearcats had an excellent chance to take the lead in the eighth inning, as Nicole Wallace (Fr., C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) and Barnes opened the stanza with consecutive singles. The next two batters hit the ball hard, but Waldron, playing in right field for PLU, made two diving catches to prevent Holcomb and Jarzombek-Clark from earning RBI singles. Hale grounded out to end WU's scoring threat. PLU also had two runners on base with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, but Wallace turned a double play for the final two outs.

Willamette went in front, 3-2, with a run in the top of the ninth inning. Katie Peterson (Fr., C, Independence, OR/Central HS) hit a leadoff single, then went to second when Cirbi Anthony (So., LF, Vale, OR/Vale HS) was hit by a pitch. A passed ball advanced Anthony and pinch-runner Caitlin Waugh (Fr., OF, Lodi, CA/Tokay HS) to second and third, respectively. Waugh scored on a single by Debra Bohren (Fr., RF, tillamook, OR/Tillamook HS), but the Bearcats were unable to add an insurance run.

The Lutes scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth by recording four consecutive hits with one out. Heather Walling and Waldron started the comeback with a pair of singles. Lisa Gilbert drove home Walling with a double and Beth Kenck hit a line drive single throught the left side of the infield to bring home Waldron with the winning run.

Willamette's third pitcher of the game, Leighan Auer (Fr., RHP, Independence, OR/Central HS) entered the contest in the ninth inning and suffered the loss to fall to 4-3. Franchi improved to 6-3 on the season with the win in Game #1.

The Bearcats outhit PLU 11-2 in the opener and 9-7 in the second game. Barnes led Willamette with a total of five hits during the doubleheader. She ranks first on the WU offensive chart with 35 hits in 21 games this season.

Game #1 - Willamette University 8, Pacific Lutheran University 0 (5 innings, run rule) - Box Score
Game #2 - Pacific Lutheran University 4, Willamette University 3 (9 innings) - Box Score