Bearcats and Loggers Split Pair of Extra-Inning Games

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Willamette University and the University of Puget Sound split a Northwest Conference double-header on Monday, April 14, with each team winning in extra-innings. Willamette won the first game, 4-3, in eight innings. The Loggers won the second game, 9-7, also in eight innings.

Nicole Wallace (So., 2B/C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) of Willamette scored the winning run in the first game on a sacrifice fly by Caitlin Waugh (So., DP/OF, Lodi, CA/Tokay HS). Valarie Barone hit a two-run homer for UPS to score the go-ahead runs in the second game.

Both games were rescheduled from a doubleheader that was rained out at Willamette on March 15. As a result, the Bearcats batted last in each contest.

Willamette's record moved to 20-6 on the season, 14-4 in the Northwest Conference. Puget Sound ended the day with a 9-19 overall record, 5-12 in the NWC.

WU rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the bottom of the seventh inning. Liz Gilgan (Sr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) was hit by a pitch with two outs and the bases empty. She reached second when Marissa Richards (Jr., 1B, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) hit into a fielder's choice. UPS was unable to record an out on the play.

Nikki Franchi (Jr., RHP/DP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) walked to load the bases. LaShawna Holcomb (Jr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) walked to bring home Gilgan with the tying run.

Franchi, who threw all eight innings in Game #1, faced four batters in the top of the eighth. After Victoria Raeburn reached first base on a fielding error, Franchi forced a pop-up and two strikeouts to end the half inning. Franchi (14-2) registered 16 strikeouts overall to tie her career high, set earlier this season in the first game against George Fox University on April 6.

In the bottom of the eighth, Wallace singled to start WU's at bat and went to second on a wild pitch. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Lizzy Whittemore (Fr., 3B, Yarmouth, ME/Albertson College) and scored the winning run on Waugh's sacrifice fly to center field.

Wallace was the only WU player with more than one hit in the opener. She went 2 for 4, scored twice and earned one RBI. Willamette had just four hits -- all singles -- but took advantage of five walks, three hit batters, two sacrifice bunts and Waugh's sacrifice fly.

Lindsay Fujita of Puget Sound opened the first game with a home run as the Loggers' lead-off batter. Raeburn smacked a solo home run in the fourth inning to give UPS a 2-0 lead. Raeburn finished the game 2 for 4 at the plate. Andi Doerflinger threw all 7 2/3 innings for the Loggers and dropped to 2-6 with the loss.

The first run of the second game was scored by Willamette when Gilgan opened the bottom of the first stanza with a home run. The Loggers tied the game in the top of the second inning, but WU took a 2-1 lead in the Bearcats' next at bat with a lead-off homer by Wallace.

A two-RBI double by Raeburn in the third inning gave UPS a 3-2 advantage and the Loggers added another tally in the fourth inning. The Bearcats eventually tied the game at 4-4, only to have the Loggers move in front with an unearned run in the sixth inning. UPS added two runs in the top of the seventh.

As in the first game, WU found a way to tie the score in the bottom of the seventh. With no outs and runners at second and third, Gilgan smacked a double down the right field line to drive in Waugh and Cirbi Anthony (Jr., LF, Vale, OR/Vale HS). After Richards grounded out, Gilgan stole third base. Barone, playing catcher for Puget Sound, made a bad throw to third and Gilgan scored the tying run.

In the top of the eighth, Meghan Watson singled to center field and Barone followed with a two-run homer to right center. The Bearcats escaped the inning without further damage, but Willamette sent just three batters to the plate in the bottom of the stanza. Logger pitcher Auriel Sperberg (5-7) earned a complete-game victory.

WU starting pitcher Amy Valencia tossed the first seven innings. She allowed three earned runs, but the Loggers also scored four unearned runs, as they benefited from four Willamette errors. Bearcat relief pitcher Debra Bohren took the loss. Her record went to 2-2.

Puget Sound achieved a 12-8 hitting edge in the nightcap. Fujita, Stephanie Hatley, Noelle Vallecorsa and Kelli Ishii each registered two hits for the Loggers. Gilgan was 3 of 4 for Willamette with two runs and four RBIs. She was the only Bearcat with more than one hit during the game.

After playing six games away from home in three days, the Bearcats will return to Salem, Ore., where they will host Whitworth University in a pair of Northwest Conference doubleheaders on Saturday, April 19 and Sunday, April 20. Action at the WU Softball Field will begin at 12 p.m. (PST) each day.

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 4, University of Puget Sound 3

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

University of Puget Sound 9, Willamette University 7

Nicole Wallace was 2 for 4 in the first game. She scored twice, including the winning run, and earned one RBI.

Nicole Wallace was 2 for 4 in the first game. She scored twice, including the winning run, and earned one RBI.