Oregon Tech Drops Willamette in Eight Innings, 8-6

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University softball team dropped a close game to visiting Oregon Institute of Technology, 8-6 in eight innings, on Thursday, March 25. The Bearcats, ranked #18 in the nation in NCAA Division III, dropped their record to 15-5. Oregon Tech, which competes in the NAIA, moved to 16-14 on the season.

Willamette trailed 6-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh. With the rain pounding and the wind whipping, the Bearcats found a way to tie the game with three runs on two hits and one error.

Jessica Barry (So., OF, Cupertino, CA/Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas) led off the inning with a single. Mica Romero (So., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian HS) walked to put runners at first and second. Barry scored on a wild pitch to bring the Bearcats within two runs, 6-4.

Following a Bri Compton (Jr., P, Kalispell, MT/Wenatchee C.C.) walk, Talissa Huntsman (So., P/DP, Richland, WA/Richland HS) hit a fly ball that was caught by center fielder Brittany Cherry on a diving play in left center. Emily Bray (Fr., 1B, Martinez, CA/Alhambra HS) singled with one out to load the bases.

Senior Nicole Wallace (2B, Roseville, CA/Roseville HS) hit a grounder to the shortstop. Wallace was thrown out at first, but two runners scored on the play to tie the game 6-6 and send it into extra innings.

The two teams agreed to play the extra innings with the international tie-breaker rule, which means a runner starts on second base at the beginning of each half-inning. OIT kept its offense rolling in the top of the inning by scoring two runs. The Owls recorded the runs without a hit, using a walk, a fielder's choice and two sacrifice flies to bring home tie-breaking runner Cherry and designated player Bree Larson.

The Bearcats had the bases loaded with one out, but did not score in the bottom of the eighth. Relief pitcher Becca Anderson got Romero to hit a fly ball to Cherry in center field. Cherry made the catch and then threw out pinch-runner Yvonne Drabin (Fr., OF, Freemont, CA/Moreau Catholic HS) at the plate as Drabin attempted to score from third.

Barry was the leading hitter for WU with three hits, two runs and one RBI. Romero scored two runs and had one hit. Wallace finished the game with two RBIs and two walks.

The top of the order for OIT finished the game a combined 6 of 17 (.353) with six RBIs. Jess Plummer led the Owls by going 3 for 4 at the plate with a solo home run. Ashleigh Larson drove in three runs.

Anderson picked up the win in relief for the Owls. She pitched three innings and gave up three runs and three hits.

Talissa Huntsman (So., P, Richland, WA/Richland HS) took the loss in relief for WU. Compton pitched most of the game, striking out seven but allowing ten hits and six runs, five of them earned.

The Bearcats will resume conference play against Lewis & Clark College on Saturday, March 27. The two teams will play a doubleheader in Portland, Ore., starting at 12 p.m. (PDT). Willamette has won the last eight games against the Pioneers.

BOX SCORE
Oregon Institute of Technology 8
Willamette University 6
Nicole Wallace drove in two runs with a ground out to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Nicole Wallace drove in two runs with a ground out to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh inning.