Willamette Rallies, but Oregon Tech Pulls Away in 7th Inning, 15-8

Top-Ranked Owls from NAIA Hold Off Bearcats at Northwest Cup

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

HAPPY VALLEY, ORE. -- Willamette University rallied from a 6-0 deficit to get within 8-7 after six innings, but Oregon Institute of Technology, ranked #1 in the NAIA, pulled away in the top of the seventh for a 15-8 win on Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Northwest Cup. Oregon Tech, the defending NAIA champion, improved to 6-2. Willamette, which competes in NCAA Division III, was playing its season opener. The Bearcats fell to 0-1.

In Willamette's second game of the day, the Bearcats shut out Northwest Christian University, 7-0. Stats were not immediately available. A separate story about the game with NCU will be posted later.

Oregon Tech and Willamette combined for six home runs.

OIT received homers from Amber Knight, Ashleigh Larson, Janelle Cromie and Kayde Schaefer. Willamette's homers were hit by Heather Winslow (Fr., 1B, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) and Allison Martin (So., C, Thousand Oaks, CA/Westlake HS). Winslow smacked a 3-run homer in the fifth inning, while Martin added a solo homer with one out in the sixth.

The Owls took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. With one out, Elise Goodell walked and Larson singled to center. A groundout to second advanced the runners. Sara Coates also hit a grounder to second, but a throwing error allowed Goodell and Larson to score. Taylor Schmidt ended the inning when she was thrown out on another grounder to second.

OIT tacked on two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth for a 6-0 lead. Schaefer smacked a 2-run homer in the fourth and Cromie hit a 2-run homer in the fifth.

Willamette started its comeback in the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and two runners on base, Winslow blasted a home run to left center, cutting the OIT lead to 6-3. Theresa Martin (Fr., UT, Modesto, CA/Johansen HS) and Jessica Barry (Jr., LF, Cupertino, CA/Monte Vista HS/UNLV) also scored on the play.

In the top of the sixth, Oregon Tech plated two runs to extend its lead to 8-3. Knight brought in both runs with a homer to left field.

The Bearcats faced a 5-run deficit, but got back in the game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Allison Martin started the rally with one out, when she smacked a home run to right field. Courtney Galli (So., SS, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS) followed by reaching first base on a dropped third strike.

Yvonne Drabin (Jr., CF, Freemont, CA/Moreau Catholic HS) walked and Amanda Absher (Fr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Theresa Martin took advantage with a two-run single. Galli and Drabin scored on the play, while Absher moved to third. Martin advanced to second when OIT attempted to throw out Drabin at the plate.

Suzannah Von Trapp (Sr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS), who was due to bat when Absher pinch-hit, re-entered the game. Von Trapp scored from third when Hope Koczko (Jr., C, Cameron Park, CA/Oak Ridge HS) provided a pinch-hit RBI groundout to second. OIT relief pitcher Taylor Schmidt recorded a strikeout to end the threat, but WU trailed by just a single run, 8-7.

The Owls prevented the Bearcats from completing the comeback, as OIT tallied seven runs in the seventh inning.

Singles by Schaefer and Shauna Collins drove in the first two runs of the inning, and Goodell brought in the third with a fielder's choice toward third base. Schaefer scored on the play by beating the throw home. Larson completed the scoring with a grand slam homer to right field. The inning featured four hits and one error.

Larson of OIT was 2 for 4 with two runs and four RBIs. Cromie finished 3 for 3, scored three runs and had RBIs. Schaefer was 2 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs. The Owls outhit the Bearcats 13-5 and benefited from three WU errors.

For the Bearcats, Winslow started her college career with a solid 2-for-4 performance, including a 3-run homer. Allison Martin was 1 for 1 with a homer and two RBIs. Theresa Martin went 1 for 3 with a run and two RBIs.

BOX SCORE

Oregon Tech 15
Willamette University 8

Allison Martin is known as a slapper, but she belted a solo homer in the sixth inning.

Allison Martin is known as a slapper, but she belted a solo homer in the sixth inning.