Bearcats Battle Linfield and Whitworth, but Fall at NWC Tournament

Snyder Belts Solo Homer against Wildcats; Robertson is 3 for 4 versus Pirates

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Willamette University provided a solid battle against the nation's #1 team in Linfield College during the first game of the Northwest Conference Softball Tournament on Friday, April 22, but the Wildcats downed the Bearcats, 4-2. In Willamette's second game on Friday, the Bearcats played well again in a 5-4 loss to Whitworth University.

Willamette ended its season with an overall record of 19-19. The Bearcats were seeded #4 for the NWC Softball Tournament after finishing 16-12 in the NWC (4th place) during the regular season.

Linfield, ranked #1 in the NCAA Division III Top 25 releases by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first when Willamette hit three consecutive singles.

With one out, Nichole Robertson (Jr., OF, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS/Cosumnes River Coll.) hit an infield single. Courtney Galli (So., 2B/SS, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS) followed with another infield hit. Talissa Huntsman (Jr., UT/RHP, Richland, WA/Richland HS) added an RBI single to score Robertson.

The Wildcats moved in front, 2-1, in the bottom of the first. Kayla Hubrich singled to open the inning and scored one out later on a hit by Emilee Lepp, who was thrown out at second trying to extend the single into a double. Staci Doucette provided Linfield with the second tally on a home run.

Neither teams scored in the second, third or fourth innings. Linfield tacked on two runs in the bottom of the fifth for a 4-1 advantage. Jaydee Baxter reached base on an error, moved to second on a ground out and scored on a double by Doucette. With two outs, Karleigh Prestianni drove in Doucette with a single to left field.

Kelli Snyder (So., C, Longview, WA/Kelso HS) of Willamette smacked a solo homer for the Bearcats to start the top of the seventh inning. Suzannah Von Trapp (Jr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) singled up the middle with two outs, bringing the tying run to the plate. Mica Romero (Jr., SS, Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian School) flied out to right field to end the game.

Hubrich was 3 for 4 with a run scored for Linfield, while Doucette finished 2 for 2 with a double and a homer. She also scored twice and earned two RBIs. No other batter for either team had more than one hit. The Wildcats held a 10-7 edge in hits during the game.

Later in the day, the Bearcats led 2-0 against Whitworth after one-half inning, but trailed 4-2 and 5-3 before scoring once in the top of the fifth.

The key play of the game may have been later in the top of the fifth, when Romero hit a bases-loaded, opposite-field blooper into shallow right field near the foul line. Whitworth right fielder Kelsey Ayers charged in and reached down to make the catch for the final out of the inning.

Pinch-runner Emily Bray (So., 1B, Martinez, CA/Alhambra HS) scored earlier in the fifth on a single by Carolyn Cava (Jr., OF, Salinas, CA/Robert Louis Stevenson School).

Willamette started the game by plating two runs in the first inning. Romero walked, Robertson singled to left and Galli provided an RBI single to right. With one out, Hope Kloczko (So., C/DP, Cameron Park, CA/Oak Ridge HS) drove in the second run with a ground out to shortstop.

Sami Parr singled and stole second for the Pirates in the bottom of the first. She scored on a double by Jamie Brunner.

Whitworth added three runs in the second inning and one in the third to build a 5-3 lead. In the second inning, the Pirates used three hits and an error to move runners around the bases. Jill Pecka sent two runners across the plate with a single to left field. Julia Johnson added an RBI single to center.

The Bearcats had four hits in the top of the third, but scored only one run. Robertson singled, stole second and eventually scored on a double by Huntsman. Klcozko singled to center and Snyder earned a bunt single, but the Bearcats left the bases loaded following a strikeout and a ground out.

In the bottom of the third, two singles and a passed ball advanced runners to second and third for Whitworth with no outs. Kelsey Burgi brought home Caty Lieseke with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Robertson went 3 for 4 against the Pirates. She also scored two runs. Six other Bearcats achieved one hit apiece. For Whitworth, Brunner was 3 for 4 with an RBI. Parr finished 2 for 4 with one run. Lieseke went 2 for 3 with a run and a walk. Pecka was just 1 for 4, but scored twice and drove in two runs.

Whitworth improved to 20-18 on the season. The Pirates will take on Pacific Lutheran University in an elimination game on Saturday, April 23.

In other tournament games on Friday, Pacific Lutheran University defeated Whitworth in the first round, 3-0, and Linfield defeated Pacific Lutheran, 11-2 on the run rule in five innings.


NWC Softball Tournament
McMinnville, Ore.
April 22-23, 2011

Linfield College 4
Willamette University 2

Whitworth University 5
Willamette University 4

Nichole Robertson was 3 for 4 against Whitworth and went 4 for 7 on the day.

Nichole Robertson was 3 for 4 against Whitworth and went 4 for 7 on the day.