Pacific Lutheran Sweeps Doubleheader from Bearcats in Softball

Lutes Win 8-3 and 9-6

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

TACOMA, WASH. -- Pacific Lutheran University swept a Northwest Conference doubleheader from the Willamette University softball team on Saturday, March 5. The Lutes defeated the Bearcats in the first game, 8-3, and held off Willamette in the second game, 9-6. PLU moved its record to 3-3 overall, 2-0 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 2-6 overall, 2-4 in the NWC.

In the first game, Willamette took a 2-1 lead with a solo home run from Nichole Robertson (Jr., RF, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS/Cosumnes River Coll.) in the top of the third inning, plus a run score by Mica Romero (Jr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian School) in the top of the fourth. The home run was the first of the season for Robertson.

PLU surged in front with three runs in the bottom of the fourth and four runs in the fifth.

In the fourth, Glenelle Nita singled and later scored when a batter was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Kaely Cuthill added an RBI single and Hagensen brought in a run with a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Lindsey Matsunaga and Montessa Califano each drove in one run with a single, before Cuthill sent two more runners home with a single to right field.

The pair of strong innings gave the Lutes an 8-2 advantage. The Bearcats plated one run in the top of the sixth inning when Sierra Lessel (Jr., CF, Eugene, OR/Churchill HS) was hit by a pitch and later scored on a ground out by Jessica Barry (Jr., OF/DP, Cupertino, CA/Monte Vista HS/UNLV). WU was unable to complete the comeback.

Stacey Hagensen pitched a solid game for Pacific Lutheran in the opener. She limited Willamette to two hits and one walk, while striking out four batters. She improved to 2-1 on the season.

WU starter Alex Watilo (Jr., Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS) pitched 4 2/3 innings and took the loss in Game 1. She gave up seven hits, struck out one batter and allowed two walks. It was Watilo's first loss of the season, as she fell to 2-1.

In addition to earning the win, Hagensen hit a solo home run with two outs in the first inning to give PLU a 1-0 lead. Cuthill finished the game 2 for 4 with three RBIs. She was one of four Lutes with two hits in the game.

Pacific Lutheran held a slim 3-2 lead after 3 1/2 innings in the second game, but increased the margin to five runs by scoring four times in the bottom of the fourth. PLU achieved five hits during the innings, including a two-run single down the left field line by Hagensen.

The Lutes extended the lead to 9-2 with a pair of consecutive home runs by Cuthill and Hagensen with one out in the bottom of the sixth. For Hagensen, it was her third home run of the season and second homer of the doubleheader.

Willamette mounted a strong rally in the seventh inning, as the Bearcats pushed across four runs. The first two batters were hit by a pitch and Lessel followed with an RBI infield single. Romero drove in a run with a double to left center. Lessel and Romero eventually scored on a pair of wild pitches.

After Romero scored, Robertson walked with no outs and Hagensen came in to pitch. Robertson stole second and went to third when pinch-hitter Susie Krewer (Jr., 2B, Sacramento, CA/Mira Loma HS) grounded out to shortstop. Hagensen forced a line out and a strikeout to end the threat.

Both teams amassed 11 hits in the second game. Lessel led WU with a 3-for-4 effort that featured the game's only triple. Romero went 2 for 4 with a run, two RBIs and a double. Robinson supplied the Bearcats with a double, while Emily Bray (So., 1B, Martinez, CA/Alhambra HS) finished 2 for 3 with a run scored.

Cuthill and Hagensen each went 2 for 3 with a homer. Cuthill also scored four runs and achieved two RBIs, while Hagensen scored once and drove in three runs. Kaaren Hatlen was 2 for 4 with one RBI for the Lutes.

Hatlen (1-1) also recorded the pitching win for PLU with three innings of relief. She gave up six hits, but had three strikeouts and gave up only one run. Hagensen recorded her first save of the season.

Bri Compton (Sr., P, Kalispell, MT/Flathead HS/Wenatchee CC) took the loss for Willamette. She threw the first 3 2/3 innings before Watilo completed the game.

Willamette and Pacific Lutheran are scheduled to play another doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch at PLU Field is set for 12 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORES

Pacific Lutheran University 8
Willamette University 3
Statistics

Pacific Lutheran University 9
Willamette University 6
Statistics

Sierra Lessel went 3 for 4 with a triple during the second game.

Sierra Lessel went 3 for 4 with a triple during the second game.