Willamette Sweeps Pioneers in NWC Doubleheader, 5-1 and 6-0

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

PORTLAND, ORE. -- Willamette University's pitching tandem of senior Nikki Franchi (RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) and freshman Alex Watilo (RHP, Newcastle, CADel Oro HS) limited Lewis & Clark College to just one run in 14 innings on Saturday, April 4, as the Bearcats swept a doubleheader from the Pioneers, 5-1 and 6-0.

The pair of Northwest Conference wins improved Willamette to 19-2 overall, 12-2 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark ended the day at 1-25 overall, 1-15 in the NWC.

Franchi, 10-1 on the season, threw all seven innings in the first game and allowed just four hits, two walks and one run. Watilo, now 9-1 for the 'Cats, also tossed a complete game, as she limited L&C to eight hits, one walk and no runs.

Willamette belted 10 hits and took advantage of five errors by the Pioneers in Game #1. The Bearcats took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, when Nicole Wallace (Jr., DH/C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) signled, moved to second on an error, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Franchi.

Mica Romero (Fr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian HS) increased Willamette's lead to 3-0 in the third inning with a two-RBI triple to center field. Suzanna Von Trapp (Fr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) also hit a triple for WU during the first game.

WU added one run in the fourth inning on a solo home run by Marissa Richards (Sr., 1B, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS), who played catcher in the first game. The Bearcats earned their last run of the contest in the top of the seventh, as two errors by L&C allowed Nichole Robertson (Fr., OF, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) to reach base and later score.

Lewis & Clark put up its only run of Game #1 in the bottom of the seventh. With one out in the inning, Laura Parker scored the run on a solo homer to left field.

Richards was 2 for 3 for Willamette in the opener. Talissa Huntsman (Fr., 1B, Richland, WA/Richaland HS) added two hits in four at bats. Eight Bearcats contributed to WU's 10-hit attack.

Willamette managed just five hits in the second game, but two of the hits were a home run and a triple in the fifth inning, as WU tacked on five runs to a 1-0 lead.

Cirbi Anthony (Sr., LF, Vale, OR/Vale HS) produced the Bearcats' first run in the top of the third inning. She walked with one out, stole second, and scored on a two-out single by Franchi.

Anthony also was the initial base runner for Willamette in the fifth inning, as she was hit by a pitch with one out. Von Trapp followed with a two-run homer for a 3-0 lead. It was Von Trapp's fourth homer of the season. The final three runs of the game were scored by Franchi, Wallace and Richards, who all reached base on walks, then crossed the plate on a bases-loaded triple by LaShawna Holcomb (Sr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS).

Lewis & Clark had two base runners in the first, fourth and sixth innings, but Watilo prevented the Pioneers from getting a runner to third base until the seventh inning. In the seventh, Kristin Breninger and Jamie Moon hit back-to-back singles. Both runners moved up a base on a ground out by Caroline DeVincenzi.

Watilo maintained the shutout by getting Caitlin Relyea to hit into a 6-3-2 double play, with Breninger out at home to end the game.

Holcomb was 3 for 3 with three RBIs for WU in the nightcap. Jessica Mullens was 2 for 3 for L&C in Game #2, while Moon went 2 for 4.

The Bearcats will return home to host George Fox University in an NWC doubleheader on Sunday, April 5. First pitch in the opening game is slated for 12 p.m. (PDT) at the WU Softball Field.

Willamette University 5
Lewis & Clark College 1
Willamette University 6
Lewis & Clark College 0
LaShawna Holcomb went 3 for 3 with a triple and three RBIs in the second game of the doubleheader.

LaShawna Holcomb went 3 for 3 with a triple and three RBIs in the second game of the doubleheader.