Bearcats and Lutes Split Doubleheader

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Willamette University junior pitcher Nikki Franchi (Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) tossed a complete-game and struck out seven batters to lead the Bearcats to an 8-1 victory over Pacific Lutheran University in the first game of a Northwest Conference doubleheader on Sunday, April 13. PLU registered 13 hits in the second game to defeat the Bearcats 12-4 (5 innings, run rule) and gain a split of the twinbill.

The Bearcats hit three home runs during the doubleheader. In the first game, Liz Gilgan (Sr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) blasted her fifth homer of the year and LaShawna Holcomb (Jr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) smacked her sixth homer of the season. In the second game, Franchi hit her team-leading eighth home run of the season, a solo shot in the top of the first inning.

Willamette concluded the day at 19-5 overall, 13-3 in the NWC. The Lutes went to 13-19 on the season, 10-10 in conference action.

The Bearcats took a 3-0 lead in the first inning of the day. Gilgan singled, moved to second on a bunt by Marissa Richards (Jr., 1B, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) and scored on a single by Franchi. Holcomb hit the ball over the fence to drive in the other two runs with a homer

Three singles and a walk allowed Pacific Lutheran to score a run in the bottom of the inning, but WU countered with two runs in the second inning and two more in the third. Gilgan drove in one of the runs in the second stanza with a double to center field. She scored the second run on a single by Richards.

Holcomb and Katie Peterson (So., RF, Independence, OR/Central HS) both scored in the third inning on a single by Caitlin Waugh (So., DP/OF, Lodi, CA/Tokay HS). WU's final run was recorded by Gilgan with a lead-off homer in the sixth inning.

Gilgan was 3 or 5 with three runs and two RBIs during the game. Waugh finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs. Franchi improved to 13-2 after picking up the victory in the circle.

Franchi's homer gave the 'Cats a 1-0 lead in Game #2. Holcomb followed with a triple down the right field line, but was left at third base at the end of the first inning.

The Lutes moved in front with four runs in the bottom of the first, then tacked on one run in the second inning. Lisa Gilbert hit a two-out double to drive in the first two runs for the Lutes. The final two runs of the opening stanza scored on an error. Heather Walling pounded a home run to right field in the second inning.

The Bearcats pushed across a run in the third inning, as Richards singled, went to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Franchi. Pacific Lutheran completed the scoring with four runs in the bottom of the third and four runs in the fifth.

Rachel Wheeler-Hoyt upped her record for PLU to 8-5 with the win. Amy Valencia (Fr., RHP, Cheyenne, WY/Cheyenne East HS) fell to 4-2 with the loss. Debra Bohren (So., LHP/RF, Tillamook, OR/Tillamook HS) pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for Willamette.

Franchi was 2 for 3 for WU in the second game. She was involved in three of the Bearcats' four runs, as she scored once and registered two RBIs.

For PLU, Walling was 3 for 3. Caitlin Brown went 2 for 3, scored twice and earned one RBI. Wheeler-Hoyt and Gilbert each went 2 for 3. The Lutes earned 13 hits, while Willamette finished with seven hits.

Willamette will remain in Tacoma, to take on the University of Puget Sound in a make-up doubleheader on Monday, April 14. The games were originally scheduled to be played at Willamette on March 15, so the Bearcats will bat last in both contests. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. (PDT).

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 8, Pacific Lutheran University 1

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

Pacific Lutheran University 12, Willamette University 4 (5 innings, run rule)

LaShawna Holcomb hit .615 and blasted four home runs in four games this weekend.

LaShawna Holcomb hit .615 and blasted four home runs in four games this weekend.