Bearcats Defeat CSU-East Bay, Fall to Williams, at Sun West Tournament

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

ORANGE, CALIF. -- Pitcher Nikki Franchi (Jr., RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) struck out 10 batters in the first five innings and Nicole Wallace (2B/C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) blasted a grand slam, as the Bearcats routed Cal State-East Bay, 12-3, Tuesday, March 25 at the Sun West Tournament. In Willamette's second game, the Bearcats gave up five unearned runs in the first inning and fell to Williams College (Mass.), 6-3.

The Bearcats ended the day with a 9-3 overall record. Willamette will take on Elmhurst College (Ill.) at 1 p..m. (PDT) on Wednesday, March 26, followed by a game against tournament host Chapman University (Calif.) at 5:45 p.m. (PDT). WU will complete its six games at the Sun West Tournament with two more contests on Thursday, March 27. The event, which features 39 teams, has been underway since March 3 and will end on Thursday.

Against CSU-East Bay, Willamette earned a run-rule victory in six innings. The Bearcats led 6-0 prior to the sixth stanza, then tacked on six more runs, including four on Wallace's grand slam homer. CSU-East Bay scored all three of its runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Neither team scored in the first two innings, as CSU-East Bay starter Jesse Peterson struck out five batters and Franchi struck out four. Both pitchers fanned three batters in the third inning, but two walks and three errors allowed Willamette to score four times in the top of the inning.

Debra Bohren (So., DP/P, Tillamook, OR/Tillamook HS) walked to start the inning. She stole second and went to third on a wild pitch. Cirbi Anthony (Jr., LF, Vale, OR/Vale HS) also walked. Liz Gilgan (Sr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) hit a sacrifice bunt, but the Pioneers were unable to record an out, as WU filled the bases.

Franchi brought in the first run when she hit into an error by second baseman Angelina Lugo. Bohren scored, along with Anthony, who reached home after third baseman Stephanie Roberts also commited an error on the play.

Later in the inning, Gilgan scored on a wild pitch and Franchi crossed the plate on CSU-East Bay's third error. All four runs were unearned.

The Bearcats added a pair of earned runs in the fourth inning. With one out, Anthony singled and stole second. Gilgan advanced Anthony to third on a fly out to right field. Marissa Richards (Jr., 1B, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) walked to put runners at the corners. Franchi belted a triple to right field to score Anthony and Richards for a 6-0 lead.

Roberts went to the pitching circle for the Pioneers at the start of the fifth inning. Katie Peterson (So., RF, Independence, OR/Central HS) doubled and Wallace reached on an error, but Roberts escaped the inning when both runners were caught stealing.

The result was different in the sixth inning, when Willamette scored six runs on two hits and six walks. Anthony scored the first run on a wild pitch with one out. Gilgan tallied the second run on a bases-load walk by LaShawna Holcomb (So., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS). The remaining four runs were scored on Wallace's home run with two outs.

Franchi gave up a walk to open the bottom of the sixth. Relief pitchers Angela Pantley (So., RHP, Kirkland, WA/International Community HS) and Amy Valencia (Fr., RHP, Cheyenne, WY/Cheyenne East HS) completed the inning to secure the run-rule win. Roberts, Lugo and right fielder Tanya Ochoa each recorded an RBI for CSU-East Bay during the inning.

Wallace was 1 for 2 with four RBIs, while Franchi went 1 for 3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Anthony walked twice, stole two bases and scored three times. Roberts was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI for East Bay. The Bearcats held a slim 5-4 lead in hits, but committed just one error, compared to five for CSU-EB.

Franchi upped her season record to 5-2 with the win. She gave up just two hits and one walk. Jesse Peterson fell to 4-10 for the Pioneers, after recording eight strikeouts and allowing five walks. East Bay gave up 11 walks overall.

Williams took advantage of an error in the first inning to built a 5-0 lead in the second game. With one out and a runner at first, Katie Powers hit into a fielder's choice. Willamette tried to throw out the lead runner, but an error allowed Joey Lye to reach second. A hit batsman loaded the bases, then pitcher Morgan Simpson singled up the middle to drive in Lye.

Caitlyn Cain hit a line drive to third for the second out, but Mary Gelber doubled to left center to drive in three runs. Two wild pitches allowed Gelber to score the fifth run of the inning.

The Ephs added another unearned run in the third stanza. Cain doubled to open the inning. She remained at second following a fly out, and was still at second after Stephanie Brooks reached on an error and Katie Zipps struck out. Lye drove in Cain with a double to right field.

The score remained 6-0 until the top of the sixth inning, when WU tallied three runs. Anthony started the rally with a double to left center. Gilgan followed at the plate and was hit by a pitch. Franchi drove in Anthony on a single with one out. Gilgan and Franchi scored with two outs on a single by Katie Peterson.

Simpson claimed a complete-game victory for Williams. She improved to 2-1 on the season, while striking out six batters, allowing just four hits and walking only one batter. Bohren threw the first three innings for Willamette and fell to 2-1 with the loss.

Franchi was 1 for 2 with a run and an RBI in the second game. She was 2 for 5 on the day. Lye was 2 for 2 at the plate with a run and an RBI for Williams. Gelber was 1 for 3 and led the Ephs with three RBIs.

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 12, Cal State-East Bay 3 (6 inn., run rule)

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

Williams College (Mass.) 6, Willamette University 3

Sun West Tournament in Orange, Calif.

Nicole Wallace hit a grand slam in Willamette's six-run sixth inning against CSU-East Bay.

Nicole Wallace hit a grand slam in Willamette's six-run sixth inning against CSU-East Bay.