Willamette Wins Two Games against Whitworth, Clinches NWC Tournament Berth

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Talissa Huntsman (Jr., UT/RHP, Richland, WA/Richland HS) of Willamette University hit a double and a home run in the first game and earned the pitching victory in the second game, as the Bearcats swept a doubleheader from Whitworth University, winning 5-0 and 8-3 on Saturday, April 16 at Marks Field. Alex Watilo (Jr., RHP, Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS) pitched a complete-game three-hitter for Willamette in the opener.

The Bearcats moved their overall record to 18-16, while improving to 15-11 in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth ended the day at 17-15 overall, 15-9 in the NWC. The teams will play another doubleheader on Sunday, April 17.

Willamette clinched a berth in the NWC Softball Tournament with the wins over Whitworth plus a pair of losses by Pacific University to Linfield College on Saturday. The NWC Tournament, set for April 22-23 at Linfield, will feature the top four teams in the regular season standings. Linfield (25-1), Pacific Lutheran (20-4), Whitworth (15-9) and Willamette (15-11) have clinched the four berths.

Currently fourth in the standings, Willamette will clinch at least a tie for third place (and earn the #3 seed in the NWC Tournament) if the Bearcats win both games at Whitworth on Sunday. The doubleheader is set to start at 12 p.m. (PDT).

Pacific is 12-14 in the NWC and can't catch Willamette or Whitworth with only two regular season games remaining.

Willamette earned nine hits in the first game. Courtney Galli (Fr., 2B/SS, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS) led the way by going 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored. Huntsman went 2 for 3 for the Bearcats with a run and three RBIs. Susie Krewer (Jr., LF/2B, Sacramento, CA/Mira Loma HS) and Kelli Snyder (So., C, Longview, WA/Kelso HS) each went 1 for 2 with a run scored.

Hope Kloczko (So., DP/C, Cameron Park, Ca/Oak Ridge HS) of Willamette drove in two runs with a single in the fourth inning, as the Bearcats took a 2-0 lead. Krewer, who was hit by a pitch, and Galli, who doubled to right center, both scored on the play.

Willamette added three runs in the top of the fifth. Snyder walked and stole second. With one out, Mica Romero (Jr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian School) walked. Whitworth pitcher Emily Anderson recorded a strikeout to move within one out of ending the threat, but Huntsman smacked a three-run homer to right center.

In the second game, the Bearcats outhit the Pirates, 12-5. Galli matched her output from the first game with another 3-for-4 performance. She scored one run and drove in three others. Sierra Lessel (Jr., CF, Eugene, OR/Churchill HS) went 3 for 5 and scored once. Suzannah Von Trapp (Jr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI.

The Bearcats also received three RBIs from Nichole Robertson (Jr., RF, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS/Cosumnes River Coll.), while Kate Schimmel (Fr., SS, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) provided three runs and two walks.

Whitworth's five hits were earned by five different players.

The teams went through the first two innings without scoring a run. In the top of the third, Willamette took a 1-0 lead when Galli reached base on an error and eventually scored on an illegal pitch.

One inning later, the Bearcats seized a 5-0 lead by adding four runs. The stanza featured four hits and two errors. Robertson drove in two runs with a single to right field. Galli brought in the remaining two runs with a single to center.

Whitworth pulled within 5-2 by plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth. Makenzi Hope singled and came home on a double by Julia Johnson. Johnson advanced to third when Willamette threw home on the play. Heather Hesselgesser singled to right field, sending Johnson across the plate.

Schimmel walked and scored for the Bearcats on a double by Von Trapp in the fifth inning. Willamette tacked on two runs in the top of the seventh for an 8-2 lead, as Robertson hit a sacrifice fly and Galli registered an RBI single. Ally Noble of Whitworth doubled and scored the final run of the game during the Pirates' last at bat.

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 5
Whitworth University 0
Statistics

Willamette University 8
Whitworth University 3
Statistics

Talissa Huntsman pounded out a double and a homer in the first game. She was 3 for 6 on the day.

Talissa Huntsman pounded out a double and a homer in the first game. She was 3 for 6 on the day.