Willamette Earns Split With Pacific Lutheran

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University softball team ended its regular season schedule with a split against visiting Pacific Lutheran University in Northwest Conference action on Monday, April 26. The Bearcats won the first game, 4-0, and lost the second game, 6-5.

Alex Watilo (So., P, Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS) threw a gem in game one for Willamette. She pitched a complete game, allowing just two hits in seven innings of work. She picked up her 10th win of the season.

The two teams battled through three scoreless innings before Willamette finally put two runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, WU strung together back-to-back-to-back singles from Kelli Snyder (Fr., C, Longview, WA/Kelso HS), Bri Compton (Jr., DP, Kalispell, MT/Wenatchee Valley CC) and Talissa Huntsman (So., 3B, Richland, WA/Richland HS). Huntsman's single scored Snyder and Compton.

Willamette scored the only other runs in the game in the bottom of the sixth. Mica Romero (So., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian HS) hit a double to get things going. The double was Romero's 17th of the season, adding to the WU single season record for doubles that she claimed this past weekend.

Snyder had her second single of the game in the same inning. The Bearcats used those two hits and two errors to bring two runs home and clinch the 4-0 victory.

The Bearcats improved their record to 28-12 overall and 20-8 in the NWC. Pacific Lutheran finished the season 23-15 overall and 17-11 in the NWC.

Stacey Hagensen took the loss for PLU. She pitched a complete game but allowed seven hits and four runs, three earned.

One inning proved to be the difference for PLU in the second game. The Lutes plated four runs in the second inning, giving them a 4-1 lead at the time. Amber Roberts hit an RBI double during the inning.

Willamette scored one run in the bottom of the second off an RBI single by Nichole Robertson (So., OF, Elk Grove, CA/Cosumnes River Coll.). The Bearcats added another run in the third, when Compton smacked a triple to right field and scored after the throw from the right fielder got away from the third baseman.

With a 4-3 lead, the Lutes scored a run in the sixth and another in the seventh to take a 6-3 lead into the final half inning of play. In the sixth, Roberts earned her second RBI of the game on a ground out. In the seventh, Kaely Cuthill provided PLU with an RBI single.

Willamette found a way to score two runs in the bottom of the seventh, taking advantage of three walks and two hit batters. A sacrifice fly by Romero scored the first run while a hit batter with the bases loaded plated the second. Jackie Martinez struck out Willamette's last batter with the bases loaded to end the game.

Martinez picked up a save, her second of the season. Starting pitcher Ramona Lorton earned her 11th win of the season for PLU.

Compton picked up the loss of the Bearcats. She ended the regular season with an 11-4 record.

Willamette finished in second place in the NWC at 20-8. The Bearcats concluded the season with a 28-12 overall record. WU is 57-18 (.760) in the last two seasons, taking second place in the NWC each year.

Conference champion Linfield College earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III West Regional. The Bearcats will have to wait to see if they receive an at-large bid.

Regional tournament participants and sites are expected to be announced through a broadcast selection show available on NCAA.com on Monday, May 10, at 9 a.m. (PDT). Regional play begins May 13 or 14 at eight sites around the country.

GAME #1 - BOX SCORE

Willamette University 4
Pacific Lutheran University 0

GAME #2 - BOX SCORE
Pacific Lutheran University 6
Willamette University 5
Alex Watilo threw a complete game and allowed just two hits in WU's 4-0 win in the opener.

Alex Watilo threw a complete game and allowed just two hits in WU's 4-0 win in the opener.