Bearcats Pound George Fox, 11-1 (5 inn.) and 8-2

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Nikki Franchi (Jr., RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) and Amy Valencia (Fr., RHP, Cheyenne, WY/Cheyenne East HS) combined on a no-hitter in the first game and the Bearcats recorded 11 hits in the second game, as Willamette University swept a doubleheader from George Fox University, 11-1 (5 inn., run rule) and 8-2, Sunday, March 9 at the WU Softball Field. Willamette upped its record to 6-2 overall, 4-2 in the Northwest Conference. GFU fell to 0-14-1 overall, 0-8 in the NWC.

In the first game, Franchi threw four hitless innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. She was credited with allowing GFU's only run, which was scored by Amber Philliber, who reached first base on error to open the fifth inning.

Valencia relieved Franchi following the error and gave up a walk and two wild pitches to send Philliber around the bases. Valencia also registered two strikeouts during the inning and ended the game with a ground out.

Katie Peterson (So., RF, Independence, OR/Central HS) hit a three-run homer to complete a nine-run second inning for Willamette in the first game. It was Peterson's second homer of the season. Marrissa Richards (Jr., 1B, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) hit her fourth home run of the season to drive in WU's final two runs in the third inning.

Peterson earned two hits in the nine-run inning. In addition to her homer, she hit a single early in the rally. The Bearcats also received a triple from Liz Gilgan (Sr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) and singles from Richards and Franchi during the lengthy stanza.

Peterson was 3 for 3 with two runs and three RBIs for Willamette. Richards went 2 for 3, scored twice and drove in three runs. Gilgan was 2 for 3 with two runs scored, while Franchi went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.

In the second game, Valencia (1-0) threw the final five innings to earn the win for Willamette. She allowed four hits and no runs.

Each team had just one extra-base hit in the second game. Shelby Briske of George Fox hit a double in the fifth inning. Liz Gilgan (Sr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) of Willamette belted a double to open the bottom half of the first inning.

Gilgan's double was followed by a single from Richards, allowing Gilgan to score the game's first run. Later in the inning, Peterson hit a sacrifice fly to center field, driving in Richards for a 2-0 lead.

George Fox plated both of its runs in the top of the second inning. With one out, pitcher Natalie Wright walked for the Bruins. She advanced the final three bases on three wild pitches. Serena Lee scored the second run on an bunt single by Kerstyn Tsuruda.

The Bearcats regained the lead with one run in the bottom of the second inning, then added four runs in the fourth. Crystal Kummerfeldt (Fr., 2B, Snohomish, WA/Jackson HS) reached first base on an error to begin the second inning. She eventually scored on a single by Cirbi Anthony (Jr., LF, Vale, OR/Vale HS). In the fourth stanza, Franchi and LaShawna Holcomb (Jr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) each hit a two-run single.

Four Willamette players contributed two hits apiece in the second game. Wallace was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI. Gilgan added a 2-for-4 performance and also provided a run and an RBI. Anthony scored once and drove in one run, while going 2 for 3 at the plate. Holcomb was 2 for 4 with two RBIs.

WU outhit the Bruins 11-7 in Game #2. Tsuruda was 2 for 4 with an RBI and was the only GFU player with more than one hit during the game.

The Bearcats are slated to host the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, March 15 and Sunday, March 16 in a Northwest Conference series. The teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader each day starting at 12 p.m. (PDT).

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 11, George Fox University 1 (5 inn., run rule)

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 8, George Fox University 2

Marissa Richards hit a two-run homer in the first game against George Fox. It was her fourth home run of the season.

Marissa Richards hit a two-run homer in the first game against George Fox. It was her fourth home run of the season.