Gilgan Hits Grand Slam in Eighth Inning to Send Willamette Past 16th-Ranked Wellesley, 4-0

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

RANGE, CALIF. -- Senior shortstop Liz Gilgan (Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) hit a grand slam home run with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning to send Willamette University to a 4-0 victory over 16th-ranked Wellesley College (Mass.), in the Bearcats' final game at the Sun West Tournament on Thursday, March 27. In Willamette's first game on Thursday, the Bearcats were defeated by Hope International University (Calif.), 10-1, on the run rule in five innings.

WU finished the day with a 12-4 overall record. Hope International went to 14-15 after defeating Willamette, while Wellesley dropped to 9-3-1 after losing to the Bearcats.

Willamette and Wellesley completed seven regulation innings with neither team scoring. In the eighth inning, the teams used the international tie-breaker, in which the last batter from the previous inning starts out at second base.

In the top of the eighth, Brittany Bakacs went to second for Wellesley. She was bunted over to third on a sacrifice by Sarah Parmalee. WU pitcher Nikki Franchi (Jr., RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS), who threw a complete-game three-hitter, struck out the next two batters to prevent Bakacs from scoring.

Nicole Wallace (So., 2B/C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) went to second to start the bottom of inning for Willamette. Kelsey Schafer (Fr., 3B, Long Beach, CA/Wilson HS) sent a sacrifice bunt toward third, but Beej Grundlock misplayed the ball and Schafer went to first and second, while Wallace advanced to third.

Debra Bohren (So., DP/LHP, Tillamook, OR/Tillamook HS) reached base on a fielder's choice to load the bases, as Wellesley held Wallace at third. After Wellesley registered a strikeout for the first out of the inning, Gilgan powered her grand slam over the right field fence.

Franchi struck out 13 batters while improving to 7-2 on the season. She gave up one walk. Kristie Gola, who threw all eight innings for Wellesley, struck out 15 batters and did not allow a walk. Gola limited the Bearcats to four hits.

Each team advanced one runner to third base in regulation play. In the second inning, LaShawna Holcomb (Jr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) of Willamette hit a lead-off single up the middle, then stole second. One out later, Wallace singled to left field and advanced to second, while Holcomb moved to third. A fielder's choice followed, with Grundlock tagging out Holcomb. A strikeout ended the threat.

Wellesley opened the sixth inning with a double by Grundlock. She moved to third base when a sacrifice bunt by Ilana Orloff was mishandled. Orloff was later thrown out stealing, then Amanda Tai hit into a 5-3-2 double play, with Grundlock out at the plate to complete the inning.

Gilgan was the only player for either team with more than one hit during the game. She was 2 for 4 at the plate. Wallace and Holcomb each earned one hit for the 'Cats.

In Willamette's first game of the day, Hope International scored two runs in the second inning and four runs in the third to take a 6-0 lead. The Royals tacked on one run in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth.

Hope's big hits of the game were in the fifth inning. Brittany Hoban doubled with one out and Cassandra Lewein and Lisa Teberg followed with back-to-back triples. Each triple drove in a run. The final run of the inning was scored by Teberg on a throwing error after Alexis Hurley walked.

The Bearcats recorded their only run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning on a solo home run by Katie Peterson (So., RF, Independence, OR/Central HS). It was her third home run of the season.

Willamette recorded five hits during the game. Peterson hit the game's only homer, while Gilgan, Franchi, Wallace and Lizzey Whittemore (Fr., 3B, Yarmouth, ME/Albertson College) each connected for a single.

Hope International concluded the game with 11 hits. Hoban, Lewein and Hurley were all 2 for 3 at the plate.

Sabrina Garcia registered the pitching victory for the Royals. She struck out seven batters and allowed no walks.
Amy Valencia (Fr., RHP, Cheyenne, WY/Cheyenne East HS), who threw 2 1/2 innings for Willamette, fell to 3-1 with the loss.

Chapman University hosted the Sun West Tournament at Hart Park in Orange, Calif. The event featured 39 teams and lasted from March 3 until March 27. Willamette's participation in the tournament began earlier this week and included six games in three days, with the Bearcats achieving a 4-2 record.

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Sun West Tournament in Orange, Calif.
Hope International University (Calif.) 10, Willamette University 1 (5 inn., run rule)

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 4, Wellesley College (Mass.) 0 (8 inn.)

Liz Gilgan hit a walk-off grand slam in the eighth inning against Wellesley College.

Liz Gilgan hit a walk-off grand slam in the eighth inning against Wellesley College.