Bearcats Score Three Runs in Final at Bat to Split Doubleheader with Pacific

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University scored three runs in its final at bat of the season, as the Bearcats rallied to defeat Pacific University, 4-3, in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday, April 29 at the WU Softball Field. Pacific won the first game, 3-0, behind 15 strikeouts from pitcher Miranda McNealy.

The Bearcats concluded the season with an overall record of 20-17, while earning a 14-14 record in the Northwest Conference (4th place). Pacific ended the year with a 25-13 record, including 17-11 in the NWC (3rd place).

Willamette's rally in the final inning began with the bottom of the order. Cirbi Anthony (So., CF, Vale, OR/Vale HS), batting seventh in the lineup, opened the inning with a bunt single toward third base. Anthony moved to second when Debra Bohren (Fr., RF, Tillamook, OR/Tillamook HS) grounded out, then reached third on a wild pitch. Jayleen Morris (Fr., C, Waldport, OR/Waldport HS) walked and was replaced by pinch-runner Caitlin Waugh (Fr., OF, Lodi, CA/Tokay HS). Waugh stole second base, as the tying run moved into scoring position.

Liz Gilgan (Jr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) singled to right field, scoring Anthony to cut Pacific's lead to 3-2. Gilgan moved to second when right fielder Amy Walters threw home on the play.

Nicole Wallace (Fr., C/2B, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) followed Gilgan with a line drive to left field. Pacific's left fielder, Kim Whittaker, took several steps toward center field and appeared ready to make the catch, but the ball bounced off the webbing of her glove. Waugh scored the tying run and Gilgan brought home the winning run.

Willamette relief pitcher Casey Jarzombek-Clark (Jr,. RHP, Aloha, OR/Aloha HS) threw the final 2 2/3 innings and was credited with the win. She improved to 5-2 on the season. Andrea Bansen, who threw all seven innings for Pacific, fell to 8-6.

Nikki Franchi (So., RHP/DP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) was 2 for 3 on offense for Willamette in the second game. Gilgan went 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Willamette outhit Pacific 9-6 during the game. Six players earned one hit apiece for the Boxers.

In the first game, McNealy dominated the Bearcats, as she struck out the first 10 batters she faced and allowed just three hits -- all singles -- in a full seven innings of work. She finished with 15 strikeouts on the afternoon, while achieving 26 strikeouts in two appearances during the four-game series. Franchi also was in control for most of the game, as she struck out 10 batters and allowed just two hits. McNealy upped her record to 14-6, while Franchi dropped to 10-8.

Both of Pacific's hits were in the first inning, when the Boxers scored the game's only runs. With one out, Kelly Nishitomi singled to left field and Caitlin Mastenbroek walked. Brook Fogwell followed with a three run homer to center field, giving the Boxers a 3-0 lead. Franchi held Pacific without a hit the rest of the way.

WU's three hits were by three players. Molly Barnes (Sr., 3B, Salem, OR/Sprague HS) singled in the fourth inning, while Katie Peterson (Fr., LF/C, Independence, OR/Independence HS) singled in the fifth and Bohren hit a single in the sixth.

In the second game, Willamette tallied the game's first run in the third inning. Morris walked after facing 10 pitches with one out in the inning. Wallace drove Morris around the bases with a triple down the right field line.

Pacific moved into the lead with three runs in the top of the fifth. The Boxers recorded three doubles during the stanza, including an RBI double by Brittany Cuff and a two-RBI double from Bansen. Pacific held a 3-1 lead until the Bearcats launched their decisive rally in the bottom of the seventh.

Between games, Willamette honored its two seniors: Barnes and injured catcher Cari Schruth (Roseburg, OR/Roseburg HS). Barnes achieved a career batting average of .362 for fourth place on WU's all-time list. Her .427 batting average this season ranked fourth all-time for the Bearcats. Barnes played in 143 games, with 141 starts, as she ranked third at WU in both categories.

Schruth, who missed all but 12 games this season due to an ankle injury, hit .280 during her career, while playing in 119 games (118 starts). She ranked fourth all-time at Willamette with 474 putouts and was fifth with a .982 career fielding percentage.

Game #1 - Pacific University 3, Willamette University 0 - Box Score
Game #2 - Willamette University 4, Pacific University 3 - Box Score

Senior Molly Barnes achieved a .362 career batting average for fourth place on Willamette's all-time list.

Senior Molly Barnes achieved a .362 career batting average for fourth place on Willamette's all-time list.