Bearcats Blast Seven Homers in Softball Sweep of George Fox, 3-0 and 11-1

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- Willamette University hit a total of seven home runs in a doubleheader sweep of George Fox University on Sunday, April 6 at Morse Field. WU belted three solo homers to win the opener, 3-0. In the second game, the Bearcats hit four homers in an 11-1 win on the run rule in five innings.

Willamette is 16-4 overall, including 14-2 in its last 16 games. The Bearcats are 10-2 in the Northwest Conference. George Fox fell to 3-21-1 overall, 3-15 in the NWC.

Junior pitcher Nikki Franchi (RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) threw 11 of the 12 innings for Willamette to pick up both wins. She allowed just one hit in seven innings in the opener and gave up only two hits in four innings during the second game. She struck out 22 batters on the day, including a career-high 16 in the first game. Franchi improved her pitching record to 10-2 on the season.

In the first game, Marissa Richards (Jr., 1B, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) and Franchi hit back-to-back homers for a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Katie Peterson (So., RF, Independence, OR/Central HS) added a home run with two outs in the top of the seventh to score the game's final run.

Peterson was the only player with two hits in the first game. She went 2 for 3 at the plate and stolen one base for the Bearcats. Gilgan was 1 for 2 on stolen bases.

The second game featured home runs by Richards, Franchi, Liz Gilgan (Sr., SS, Sherwood, OR/Sherwood HS) and Nicole Wallace (So., 2B/C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS). Gilgan and Franchi smacked consecutive home runs to start the game. Franchi also drove in two runs in WU's three-run second inning, as the Bearcats took a 5-0 lead.

Wallace homered and scored Willamette's next run in the third inning. Peterson increased the lead to 8-0 by driving in two runs with a double in the top of the fourth.

GFU tallied its only run in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Kristen Griffith. Camille Jeffris, who walked to open the inning, score the run for the Bruins. Following the sacrifice fly, Natalie White was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Franchi ended the inning by striking out Amber Philliber.

The Bearcats tallied three runs with two outs in the seventh inning. Cirbi Anthony (Jr., LF, Vale, OR/Vale HS) singled and stole second base. She rounded third and scored on a single by Gilgan, who advanced to second on the throw. Richard followed with a two-run homer for her team-leading seventh four-bagger of the season.

Gilgan was 2 for 4 with three runs and two RBIs for WU in the second game. Franchi was 2 for 4, scored twice and drove in three runs. Peterson went 2 for 3 with two RBIs, while Richards was 1 for 3 and earned three RBIs.

Kerstyn Tsuruda and Ashley Oslon recorded the only hits for GFU in the second game. Olson registered the only hit for the Bruins in Game #1.

Willamette will play two doubleheaders in Tacoma, Wash., next weekend. The Bearcats are slated to play at the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, April 12 at 2 p.m. (PDT). WU will take on Pacific Lutheran University on Sunday, April 13 at 12 p.m. (PDT).

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 3, George Fox University 1

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE

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

Pitcher Nikki Franchi won both games and hit a homer in each contest, as WU improved to 16-4, including 10-2 in the NWC.

Pitcher Nikki Franchi won both games and hit a homer in each contest, as WU improved to 16-4, including 10-2 in the NWC.