Pacific Sweeps Bearcats in Pair of One-Run Games, 2-1 and 7-6 (9 innings)

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Pacific University won a pitcher's duel in the first game, 2-1, then outscored Willamette University, 7-6 in nine innings, in the second contest, as the Boxers swept the Bearcats in a doubleheader at the
Linfield Softball Field on Sunday, March 2. Pacific improved to 8-0 on the season, 2-0 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette went to 2-2 overall, 0-2 in the NWC.

Although the games were played at a neutral site, Pacific was the home team in both games. The Boxers are awaiting the completion of a new home field in Forest Grove, Ore.

Pacific scored the winning run in the first game when Caitlin Mastenbroek reached the plate on a sacrifice fly by Kristen Croxford in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nikki Franchi (Jr., RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) singled with two outs in the top of the seventh, but Pacific pitcher Miranda McNealy recorded a strikeout to achieve a complete-game victory.

McNealy allowed just five hits, while earning nine strikeouts and three walks. She improved to 4-0 on the season. Franchi also threw a complete game, but took the loss, despite allowing just two runs and one walk. She registered three strikeouts.

Franchi was 1 for 3 at the plate in the first game. She scored the Bearcats' only run after receiving a base on balls to start the sixth inning. She moved to second on a single by LaShawna Holcomb (Jr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS). Both runners advanced when Kelsey Schafer (Fr., 3B, Long Beach, CA/Wilson HS) provided a sacrifice bunt. Jayleen Morris (So., C, Waldport, OR/Waldport HS) followed with a sacrifice fielder's choice that allowed Franchi to cross the plate, as the 'Cats tied the game, 1-1.

Mastenbroek and Croxford each achieved two hits for the Boxers in the opening game. Croxford was credited with both RBIs, including a run-scoring single down the left field line in the first inning.

In the second game, Pacific scored on a leadoff homer by Brooke Fogwell in the bottom of the seventh inning to tie the game, 6-6. The Boxers scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning on another leadoff homer by Fogwell.

Andrea Bansen claimed the second win for the Boxers, as she upped her record to 4-0. Franchi, who tossed the final 5 2/3 innings for Willamette, received the loss and ended the day with a 1-2 record for the season.

Holcomb was 2 for 5 with three RBIs and a run scored for Willamette in the nightcap. Franchi, Morris and Liz Gilgan (Sr. SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) each added a pair of hits for the Bearcats.

WU fell behind 3-1 in the first inning of the second game, but Katie Peterson (So., RF, Independence, OR/Central HS) hit a two-run homer in the second inning to tie the game, 3-3. Pacific put up two runs in the bottom of the stanza, but WU tied the game for a second time with two tallies in the third inning. Franchi singled with two outs in the top of the seventh and scored on a double by Holcomb to give the 'Cats a 6-5 lead.

Pacific's two homers in three at bats paced the Boxers in the second contest. Mastenbroek and Stephanie Vanoudenhaegen each went 2 for 5 for Pacific during the game.

Willamette plays again on Saturday, March 8 at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. The NWC doubleheader is slated to get underway at 12 p.m. (PST).


Pacific University 2, Willamette University 1


Pacific University 7, Willamette University 6 (9 innings)