Willamette Wins Two Games against Lewis & Clark on Run Rule

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University, ranked #10 in NCAA Division III, won a pair of Northwest Conference games against Lewis & Clark College on the run rule, 8-0 and 12-0, Wednesday, April 1 at the WU Softball Field. The Bearcats moved to 17-2 on the season, 10-2 in the NWC. The first game ended in the sixth inning and the second game went five innings.

Lewis & Clark dropped to 1-23 overall. The Pioneers fell to 1-13 in the conference. WU will take on Lewis & Clark again on Saturday, April 4, but the Pioneers will be hosting the doubleheader in Portland, Ore. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).

Nikki Franchi (Sr., RHP/DP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) threw a six-inning no-hitter in the first game. She struck out 10 batters and now has 500 career strikeouts for the Bearcats. She walked three batters. Franchi improved to 9-1 on the season.

The no-hitter in the first game was the first complete-game no-hitter of Franchi's career for the Bearcats. She previously combined on a no-hitter against George Fox University on March 9, 2008, as she threw the first four innings in an 11-1, five-inning run-rule win.

Franchi also went 2 for 2 with a homer, two walks, two runs and three RBIs in the first game. She hit a two-run homer to left field in the fourth inning.

She also hit a ball into the right field corner for an apparent inside-the-park home run with WU leading 7-0 and Nicole Wallace (Jr., C, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) at third in the sixth inning. A check of NCAA scoring rules showed Franchi could only be credited a single because the ball stayed inside the park and Wallace's run from third triggered the run rule (8-run lead in the fifth or sixth).

The Bearcats scored in all six innings in Game #1. WU built a 2-0 lead in the first stanza, then added one run in each of the next two innings. Franchi's two-run homer increased the margin to 6-0 in the bottom of the fourth. The 'Cats tacked on one run in the fifth and one more in the sixth.

Mica Romero (Fr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian HS) of Willamette was 3 for 3 in the opener. She scored two runs and earned two RBIs. Wallace was 3 for 4 and scored three runs.

In the second game, Alex Watilo (Fr., RHP, Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS) gave up just two hits in the five-inning victory. She struck out four batters and did not allow a walk. She upped her season record to 8-1.

Paige McFeeley started both games and took both losses for Lewis & Clark. McFeeley is 1-11 on the season.

For WU in the second game, LaShawna Holcomb (Sr., CF, Renton, WA/Hazen HS) was 3 for 3 with a run, two doubles and two RBIs. Sierra Lessel (Fr., RF, Eugene, OR/Churchill HS), Marissa Richards (Sr., 1B, Newberg, OR/Newberg HS), Cirbi Anthony (Sr., LF, Vale, OR/Vale HS) and Jayleen Morris (Jr., C, Waldport, OR/Waldport HS) each went 2 for 3 for the 'Cats. Willamette finished the nightcap with 15 hits.

The two hits for L&C were by Caitlin Relyea and Jessica Mullins. Both finished 1 for 2 for the Pioneers.

WU tallied four runs on six hits in the bottom of the second inning of Game #2. Suzanna Von Trapp (Fr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) hit an RBI double, Anthony provided an RBI single and Morris singled to drove in two runs.

Willamette pushed across eight runs in the third -- all with two outs. Holcomb doubled to start the rally and Richards followed with another double to bring in the first run. Holcomb connected for another double later in the inning, as she drove in the final two runs of the frame.

Lessel and Romero each provided a two-RBI single during the offensive outburst. The Bearcats sent a total of 13 batters to the plate and recorded eight hits in the inning.

Live Stats were not available during the doubleheader because we were unable to connect to a wireless internet signal.

Willamette University 8
Lewis & Clark College 0
6 innings, run rule
Willamette University 12
Lewis & Clark College 0
5 innings, run rule
Nikki Franchi threw a no hitter and struck out 10 batters in WU's 8-0 win in the first game. Franchi now has 500 career strikeouts.

Nikki Franchi threw a no hitter and struck out 10 batters in WU's 8-0 win in the first game. Franchi now has 500 career strikeouts.