Bearcats Use Timely Hitting, Dominant Pitching to Down Pirates 3-2 and 11-3

Romero Drives in Three Runs, Finishes Day 3 for 4

By Brandon Chinn, Student Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University utilized timely hitting and received complete-game efforts from each of its starting pitchers en route to a doubleheader sweep against Whitworth University, 3-2 and 11-3, on Saturday, April 7 at the WU Softball Field.

With the sweep, the Bearcats improved their overall record to 18-8 and 17-4 in Northwest Conference play, while the Pirates dropped to 17-19 overall, and 10-14 in the NWC. The victory in game one ensured that Willamette will earn of one of the four available spots in the Northwest Conference Tournament.

The Bearcats got off to a quick start in the first game after a three-up, three-down effort in the top half of the first inning from starting pitcher Alex Watilo (Sr., P, Newcastle, CA/Del Oro HS).

WU leadoff hitter Jessica Barry (Jr., LF, Cupertino, CA/Monte Vista HS/UNLV) lined a single to left field and stole second base. A groundout by Suzzannah Von Trapp (Sr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) moved Barry over to third base, where she was then driven in by an RBI single to right field via Heather Winslow (Fr., 1B, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS).

Senior Shortstop Mica Romero (Woodland, CA/Woodland Christian HS) then followed Winslow's RBI effort with one of her own, launching a double into the right center field gap to give the Bearcats an early 2-0 advantage. Willamette was not done yet, however, as Susie Krewer (Sr., 2B, Sacramento, CA/Mira Loma HS) got in on the action with an RBI single of her own.

After managing only one hit through the first three innings of play, Whitworth finally got on the scoreboard against Watilo in the fourth inning. After the leadoff hitter reached base on an infield error, Whitworth first baseman Julia Johnson connected on a two-run home run to right center field, cutting the deficit to 3-2.

From that point on it was the pitchers who were in control.

With only three outs remaining between the Bearcats and a game one victory, Whitworth put together one final comeback attempt. Pinch hitter Whitney Byrom led off the top half of the seventh with a single.

During the following play, however, quick reactions from Bearcats catcher Allie Martin (Thousand Oaks, CA/Westlake HS) on an attempted sacrifice bunt allowed her to throw Byrom out at second, removing the lead runner. A pair of wild pitches would help move Whitworth base runner Makenzie Hope to third with only one out, but another solid play by the Willamette defense prevented a run from scoring.

On a 3-2 pitch, Pirates batter Sami Parr grounded a ball to Romero at shortstop. Romero charged the ball and fired home in time to cut the possible tyinging run at the plate. Watilo then induced one final groundout to solidify the victory.

In her winning effort, Watilo went the distance, throwing seven innings and allowing only one earned run and five hits. She also walked one and struck out four, advancing her record to 12-3 on the season. On the offensive side for Willamette, Romero doubled twice to lead an offensive unit. Willamette managed only one hit after its first inning explosion.

The Bearcats' offense came to life in game two, scoring nine runs in the first four innings before providing the final knockout punch with two runs in the fifth. 

Von Trapp started the action with a one out single up the middle. Two batters later she came around to score the game's first run thanks to a double to deep left field by Theresa Martin (Fr., 3B, Modesto. CA/Johansen HS). After a three-up, three-down performance in the top of the second by Bearcats pitcher Haley Glantz (Fr. Reno, NV/Robert McQueen HS), the Willamette offense got back to work.

Romero walked and stole second to begin the frame. She then advanced to third on a bunt single by Krewer. Krewer also stole second base, setting up runners on second and third with nobody out. Both runners scored on consecutive at bats, as a sacrifice fly to left field by Nichole Robertson (Sr., OF, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS/Cosumnes River Coll.) and an RBI single by Yvonne Drabin (Jr., OF, Freemont, CA/Moreau Catholic HS) extended the WU lead to 3-0.

Whitworth finally got to Glantz in the top half of the third as center fielder Sacha Clow hit the ball just well enough to get over the center field wall, tightening the game at 3-2.

Willamette distanced itself from Whitworth in the home half of the inning. Von Trapp led off the inning with a single to left field. Winslow proceeded to yank a ball down the right field line for a single, and advanced all the way to third on a throwing error by the right fielder. Von Trapp scored from first on the play. Theresa Martin plated Winslow with an RBI single of her own, hitting it sharply down the left field line.

The Bearcats then manufactured an additional run to extend their lead to 6-2. With Martin on first, Kelli Snyder (Jr., C, Longview WA/Kelso HS) laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Martin to second. Martin advance to third on a wild pitch and went on to score when Romero lifted a sacrifice fly to center field.

Never satisfied, the Willamette offense produced three more runs in the fourth inning. Drabin led off with a single to left and moved to second on a wild pitch. She then scored all the way from second on a bunt single from Barry. Later, with Barry on third, Winslow drove in yet another run with a single to right field, making it 8-2. 

A two-out Whitworth error allowing Snyder to reach base proved costly, as Romero added one final run in the inning with an RBI double to left center field.

Whitworth tallied a single run in the top half of the fifth, but it wasn't enough to stop the eight-run rule from going into effect in the bottom of the stanza.

The Bearcats recorded consecutive singles by Amanda Absher (Fr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) and Drabin to begin the half inning. Pinch-hitter Erin Norris (Fr., 3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) launched a 2-RBI double over the head of the right fielder, ending the game with a final score of 11-3. 

In the circle for Willamette, Glantz managed to limit Whitworth to a mere three runs on four hits. Despite struggling with control, Glantz was able to effectively keep the Pirates' offense off balance as she worked her way out of several small jams. Glantz also struck out three batters on her way to improving her record to 6-5 on the season.

Offensively, Drabin led the team in hits with a perfect 3-for-3 game at the plate. She also drove in one run and scored twice. Romero and Theresa Martin provided power, as they both recorded a double and two RBIs in the winning effort. Other Willamette hitters with two hits in game two were Von Trapp, Winslow, and Krewer. 

Fresh off the four game series sweep of Whitworth, the Bearcats will head to Tacoma in an effort to makeup games that were previously rained out. The Bearcats will play a doublheader against Pacific Lutheran University on the Tuesday, April 10, before ending their road trip with a single game at the University of Puget Sound on the Wednesday, April 11.

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 3
Whitworth University 2
Statistics

Willamette University 11
Whitworth University 3
Run Rule, 5 innings
Statistics
Romero went a combined 3 for 4 on Saturday with three doubles and three RBIs.

Romero went a combined 3 for 4 on Saturday with three doubles and three RBIs.