Willamette Sweeps Southern Oregon, 3-1 and 12-2

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

ASHLAND, ORE. -- Willamette University won a pair of non-conference games against Southern Oregon University on Tuesday, March 24, as the Bearcats defeated the Raiders, 3-1 and 12-2 at University Field. The Bearcats, ranked #8 in NCAA Division III, have won eight games in a row and are 12-1 on the season. Southern Oregon is 2-9 overall.

Freshman pitcher Alex Watilo (RHP, Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS) struck out four batters and allowed five hits to win the first game. Watilo improved to 6-0 on the season. The Bearcats had just four hits, but took advantage of six Southern Oregon errors to rally from a 1-0 deficit with two runs in the sixth inning and one run in the seventh.

The Raiders scored first in the bottom of the fourth. Strohm Fouty opened the inning with a single. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ricci Coultas and scored on a double by Meghan Laughlin. Back-to-back fly balls on the infield ended the threat.

WU plated two runs on three errors in the sixth. With one out, Von Trapp reached base on an error by first baseman Bailey Price. After Von Trapp stole second, Nikki Franchi (Sr., RHP/DP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) flied out to left field, moving Von Trapp to third.

LaShawna Holcomb (Sr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) reached on another error at first base. Von Trapp scored on the play. Susie Krewer (Fr., 2B, Sacramento, CA/Mira Loma HS) hit a fly ball to center field that was misplayed by Laughlin. Holcomb scored for a 2-1 Willamette lead.

Two hits and two errors helped the Bearcats tally an insurance run in the seventh. With one out, Watilo recorded an infield single.

Cirbi Anthony (Sr., OF, Vale, ORVale HS) hit into an error by pitcher Jordyn Kurtz and Sierra Lessel (Fr., OF, Eugene, OR/Churchill HS) singled to load the bases. Carolyn Cava ran for Watilo and scored when catcher Sara Stenson committed an error on a fielder's choice by Nicole Wallace (Sr., IF, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS).

In the second game, Franchi struck out nine Raiders and allowed only three hits. Suzannah Von Trapp (Fr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) hit a solo home run in the fourth inning. WU trailed 2-1 after one stanza, but scored two runs in the third, three in the fourth and six in the fifth to pull away.

Lessel singled to center field to open the game. She advanced to second on a sacrifice by Von Trapp, reached third on a stolen base and scored on a triple by Franchi. SOU earned two runs in the bottom of the inning on an RBI double by Kathryn Moy and a sacrifice fly by Laughlin.

With one out in the third inning, Franchi singled and Holcomb walked. Krewer drove home Franchi with a double down the line in left field. Holcomb crossed the plate on a single by Mica Romero (Fr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian), giving WU a 3-2 lead.

Willamette's three-run fourth inning started with back-to-back ground outs, but changed quickly when Von Trapp homered to center field. Franchi doubled, Holcomb was hit by a pitch, and Krewer blasted another double to score two more runs.

The 'Cats owned a 6-2 advantage and increased their margin with six runs in the fifth inning. Lessel drove in two runs with a single and Franchi brought home two more with a double to left field. In between, Von Trapp reached first base on an error to drove in one run. Romero provided an RBI single to score Franchi with the game's final run.

Franchi upped her pitching record to 5-1 on the season. She also went 4 for 4 at the plate in the second game, with a double, a triple, three runs and three RBIs.

Lessel, Krewer and Romero each added two hits for Willamette in the Game #2. Lessel scored twice and registered two RBIs. Krewer supplied three RBIs and Romero finished with two RBIs. WU pounded out a total of 15 hits during the game.

Fouty was the only Southern Oregon player with more than one hit in the nightcap. She was 2 for 3 for the Raiders.

The Bearcats will play at Northwest Conference doubleheader at the University of Puget Sound on Saturday, March 28. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. (PDT) in Tacoma, Wash.

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE
Willamette University 3
Southern Oregon University 1
GAME #2 - BOX SCORE
Willamette University 12
Southern Oregon University 2
5 innings, run rule
Willamette improved to 12-1 overall with two wins over Southern Oregon.

Willamette improved to 12-1 overall with two wins over Southern Oregon.