Richards and Franchi Garner NWC Softball Weekly Awards

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Junior first baseman Marissa Richards (Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) and senior right-handed pitcher Nikki Franchi (Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) helped Willamette University go 4-0 last week with doubleheader sweeps of Lewis & Clark College and George Fox University. Their efforts have earned the Bearcat duo the Northwest Conference Player of the Week awards in softball for the week ending April 6.

Richards was named NWC Softball Player of the Week after hitting .571 (8 of 14), while providing the Bearcats with seven runs and eight RBIs. She hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run) in Willamette's first game against Lewis & Clark on April 5. In that game, she was 4 for 4 with four runs and two RBIs.

During the week, Richards earned at least one hit, one run and one RBI in every game. She achieved a total of seven extra-base hits, with three doubles, one triple and three home runs. Richards recorded 19 putouts and one assist with no errors on defense. She also went 2 for 3 on stolen bases.

Franchi gave up just one run while going 3-0 in the circle for Willamette and was chosen NWC Pitcher of the Week. She achieved a 0.41 earned run average and struck out 36 batters in 17 innings pitched, including a career-high 16 strikeouts in WU's first game against George Fox on April 6.

She allowed just six hits during her three appearances. She tossed all six innings in the first game with L&C, threw a complete game in the opener versus George Fox and pitched four of the five innings in WU's second game with GFU.

On offense, Franchi hit .583 with one double, one triple and two home runs while batting in all four games. She walked three times, scored seven runs and had six RBIs.

Franchi also is hitting .583 for the season and owns a 1.10 ERA this spring. She has a 10-2 pitching record with 115 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings.

Willamette defeated Lewis & Clark 8-0 in six innings on the run rule and 11-3 in five innings on the run rule. The Bearcats downed George Fox 3-0 and 11-1 (5 innings, run rule).

WU is now 16-4 on the season, including 10-2 in the NWC. The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, April 12 at the University of Puget Sound. First pitch to start the doubleheader is set for 2 p.m. (PDT).

Marissa Richards hit for the cycle in WU's 8-0 win over Lewis & Clark on April 5.

Marissa Richards hit for the cycle in WU's 8-0 win over Lewis & Clark on April 5.

Franchi Garner

Franchi Garner