Pirates Sweep Bearcats, 9-7 and 9-4

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Whitworth College rallied from a two-run deficit by scoring four times in the bottom of the sixth inning in the opener, then used an eight-run second inning in the second game, to sweep a Northwest Conference doubleheader from Willamette University on Sunday, April 22 at Marks Field. The Pirates, ranked #8 in NCAA Division III, upped their record to 29-3, including 24-0 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 17-16, 11-13 in the NWC.

Willamette outhit Whitworth, 17-9, in the first game, but left eight runners on base and allowed the Pirates three home runs. Even so, the Bearcats took a 7-5 lead by scoring three runs in the top of the sixth inning. The final two runs crossed the plate on a single by Liz Gilgan (Jr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS).

The Pirates countered with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Sara Rylaarsdam opened the stanza with a solo homer and Lindsay Davis added a three-run homer with one out.

The Bearcats nearly mounted a two-out rally in the top of the seventh inning, as LaShawna Holcomb (So., 2B/CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS), Caitlin Waugh (Fr., LF, Lodi, CA/Tokay HS) and Cirbi Anthony (So., OF, Vale, OR/Vale HS) produced three consecutive singles. Jessie LaPlante, who threw all seven innings for Whitworth, forced Debra Bohren (Fr., RF, Tillamook, OR/Tillamook HS) to ground out to end the game.

LaPlante remained undefeated at 17-0. She struck out six batters and did not allow a walk. LaPlante also hit a three-run homer with two outs in the fourth inning. Casey Jarzomek-Clark (Jr., RHP, Aloha, OR/Aloha HS) took the loss for Willamette, as she fell to 3-2 on the season.

Waugh was 3 for 3 with two runs and an RBI in Game #1 for the Bearcats, while Anthony went 3 for 4 with a run and two RBIs and Holcomb was 3 for 4 with a run scored. Gilgan and Nikki Franchi (So., RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) each went 2 for 4. Davis topped Whitworth in the opener with three hits, two runs and four RBIs in four at bats.

In the second game, Whitworth surged out to an 8-0 lead with the Pirates' big second inning. Two doubles by Morgan Thomsen and a total of six hits contributed to the offensive outburst. Thomsen opened the inning with her first double, then drove in two runs with her second double.

The Bearcats fought back with two runs in the third inning and one run in the fifth, but couldn't overcome the eight-run deficit. Franchi and Geneva Hale (Jr., 1B, Shoreline, WA/Shorecrest HS) contributed RBI singles in the third. Franchi added an RBI double in the fifth.

Whitworth's Rachel Anderson hit a solo homer with two outs in the fifth inning to give the Pirates an 9-3 advantage. The Bearcats completed the scoring in the top of the seventh, when Gilgan singled and eventually reached home plate on a wild pitch.

Jennifer Eckoff struck out eight batters and improved to 5-1 for Whitworth. She allowed just six hits. Franchi dropped to 9-7 with the loss for Willamette.

Anderson went 3 for 3 for the Pirates in the second game, with two runs and one RBI. Thomsen and Lacey Kerr each added two hits and one run in three at bats. Thomsen drove in two runs and Kerr earned one RBI.

Willamette's top hitters in the second game were Franchi, who went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and Gilgan, who went 2 for 3 with three runs scored. Hale finished 1 for 3 with an RBI.

The Bearcats close out the season at home against NWC rival Pacific University on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29. Action at the Willamette University Softball Field is scheduled to begin each day at 12 p.m. (PDT).

Game #1 - Whitworth College 9, Willamette University 7 - Box Score
Game #2 - Whitworth College 9, Willamette University 4 - Box Score