Franchi Throws No-Hitter in First Game, as Bearcats Sweep George Fox, 8-0 and 10-0

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University pitcher Nikki Franchi (Sr., RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) threw a no-hitter in the first game to start a doubleheader sweep by the Bearcats over George Fox University, 8-0 and 10-0 on Sunday, April 5 at the WU Softball Field. Both games ended on the run rule in five innings.

Suzannah Von Trapp (Fr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) and LaShawna Holcomb (Sr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) hit home runs for Willamette in the second game, as WU improved to 21-2 overall, 14-2 in the Northwest Conference. George Fox fell to 4-21 overall, 3-13 in the NWC.

In the opener, Franchi recorded her second no-hitter of the week. On Wednesday, April 1, she held Lewis & Clark College without a hit in an 8-0, run-rule win in six innings.

Against George Fox on Sunday, Franchi faced just 16 batters. She walked Amy Peterson to start the game. Peterson stole second, but was stranded at the end of the inning. No other Bruin reached base during the game.

Franchi, 11-1 on the season, struck out 10 batters. A diving catch by Holcomb in center field in the fourth inning, on a ball hit by Kerstyn Tsuruda, helped preserve the no-hitter.

WU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Sierra Lessel (Fr., RF, Eugene, OR/Churchill HS) walked to start the stanza. She stole second, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Marissa Richards (Sr., 1B, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS) and scored on a wild pitch.

The Bearcats added three runs in the third inning, as WU earned two hits and GFU committed three errors. With two outs and Richards at first, Holcomb hit into an error by shortstop Shelby Briske. Richards went to third and Holcomb wound up at second on the play. Mica Romero (Fr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian) followed with a two-RBI single.

Susie Krewer (Fr., 2B, Sacramento, CA/Mira Loma HS) singled to drive in Romero. Krewer went to second when the ball was misplayed in right field, but the Bruins ended the inning without allowing another run.

WU scored four more runs in the fifth inning to bring the run rule into play. Holcomb was hit by a pitch, stole second and eventually scored on a single by Romero. Krewer singled and also stole second base. Wallace recorded two RBIs with a base hit. Talissa Huntsman (Fr., DH/1B, Richland, WA/Richland HS) earned the final RBI with a single through the left side.

Romero was 2 for 2 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Krewer went 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.

Alex Watilo (Fr., RHP, Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS) of Willamette threw a three hitter with six strikeouts and no walks in the second game. She improved to 10-1 on the season.

Willamette took a 2-0 lead in the first stanza. With two outs, Franchi walked and Holcomb hit a ground ball that was mishandled by Katie Hughes at second. Franchi advanced on the error, while Holcomb went to first base. A wild pitch moved the runners, then Romero hit into an error at shortstop. The ball went into the outfield, allowing Franchi and Holcomb to score.

In the second inning, Wallace singled, stole second and went to third on a single by Cirbi Anthony (Sr., LF, Vale, OR/Vale HS). Anthony advanced to second on the play and was thrown out in a run down when Von Trapp hit a fielder's choice to shortstop. Wallace scored on a double steal with Von Trapp. Lessel brought home Von Trapp with a single to center field.

Three runs for the 'Cats in the third inning extended the lead to 7-0. Krewer provided an RBI single and went to second when Holcomb beat the throw home. Romero, who reached base on an error, advanced to third on the play. Romero scored on a ground out by Wallace and Krewer crossed the plate on a wild pitch.

Willamette's next at bat started with a home run to left center by Von Trapp. Two outs later, Franchi walked and Holcomb blasted a home run over the center field fence.

Watilo faced three batters in the top of the fifth inning to finish the run-rule victory. Krewer made a diving catch between first and second on a line drive by Peterson to register the final out.

Krewer was 3 for 3 with a run and an RBI for WU in Game #2. Holcomb was 2 for 3 with three runs and two RBIs. Anthony added two hits in two at bats. The Bearcats outhit the Bruins 10-3 during the game. Briske was 2 for 2 for George Fox.

Willamette, ranked #10 in NCAA Division III, will host the University of Puget Sound on Friday, April 10, in a doubleheader at the WU Softball Field. The action is set to get underway at 2 p.m. (PDT).

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE
Willamette University 8
George Fox University 0
5 innings, run rule
GAME #2 - BOX SCORE
Willamette University 10
George Fox University 0
5 innings, run rule
Franchi threw her second no-hitter of the week and struck out 10 batters in WU's 8-0 win over the Bruins.

Franchi threw her second no-hitter of the week and struck out 10 batters in WU's 8-0 win over the Bruins.

Susie Krewer was 5 for 6 with two runs and two RBIs during the doubleheader.

Susie Krewer was 5 for 6 with two runs and two RBIs during the doubleheader.