Bearcats Shut Down Oregon Tech, 4-0, as Franchi Strikes out 11

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

REDDING, CALIF. -- Willamette University received a strong pitching and hitting performance from senior Nikki Franchi (RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS), as she led the Bearcats to a 4-0 shutout of the Oregon Institute of Technology on Monday, March 23 at Simpson University. Franchi allowed just two hits and struck out 11 batters. She also went 3 for 4 at the plate with one run and one RBI.

With the victory, Willamette improved to 10-1 on the season. The Bearcats have won six games in a row, including four consecutive shutouts. Oregon Tech fell to 6-7 overall.

WU scored twice in the first inning against the Owls, then added a single run in the fourth and one run in the fifth. The 'Cats accumulated 13 hits, including five doubles. Franchi hit two of the doubles, while Sierra Lessel (Fr. RF, Eugene, OR/Churchill HS), LaShawna Holcomb (Sr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) and Talissa Huntsman (Fr., 3B, Richland, WA/Richland HS) each contributed one double.

In the top of the first, Nicole Wallace (Jr., DP/C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) single to right with one out. The ball was misplayed, allowing Wallace to advance to second.

Franchi singled and stole second base, putting two runners in scoring position. Holcomb drove in Wallace with a sacrifice fly to right field. Susie Krewer (Fr., 2B, Sacramento, CA/Mira Loma HS) hit a single to score Franchi for a 2-0 lead.

Mica Romero (Fr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian) singled with one out in the fourth inning. Huntsman doubled, sending Romero to third base. Romero scored on a passed ball.

The 'Cats used a by Lessel with one out and a double by Franchi with two outs to produce the final run in the top of the fifth. Holcomb followed with a single and stole second, but Krewer lined out to end the threat.

Franchi allowed just two singles and two walks. The Owls also put one runner on base following a Willamette error.

Oregon Tech's singles were in the first and seventh innings. In the first, Sunceray Titus singled, but was thrown out attempting to steal second. With two outs, Katie King walked, only to have Franchi strike out Brittany Warren to end the inning.

In the seventh, Warren connected for a leadoff single. A line drive out to left field and two fly outs on the infield concluded the game with Warren at first base.

Franchi's three hits led the Bearcats on offense. Holcomb, Romero and Suzannah Von Trapp (Fr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) each went 2 for 3 at the plate.

Willamette will remain on the road for a doubleheader at Southern Oregon University on Tuesday, March 24. First pitch in the opening game is set for 1 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORE
Willamette University 4
Oregon Institute of Technology 0
Nikki Franchi struck out 11 Oregon Tech batters. She upped her record to 5-1 on the season.

Nikki Franchi struck out 11 Oregon Tech batters. She upped her record to 5-1 on the season.