Bearcats Pound Out 19 Hits in 9-1, 3-0 Sweep of George Fox in Softball

Absher and Norris Homer in First Game; Bradshaw Throws 3-Hitter in Second Game

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

NEWBERG, ORE. -- Willamette University blasted two homers and collected 11 hits in a 9-1 run-run victory to start a doubleheader sweep of George Fox University on Saturday, March 15 at Morse Field. In the second game, the Bearcats used eight hits plus the strong pitching of Victoria Bradshaw (So., P, Discovery Bay, CA/Liberty HS) to shut out the Bruins, 3-0.

With the sweep, Willamette advanced its record to 7-6 overall, 6-5 in the Northwest Conference. George Fox fell to 10-4 overall, 4-4 in the NWC.

The Bearcats trailed 1-0 in the first game after GFU scored in the bottom of the first inning. Kayla Anderson doubled to right center with one out. Amanda Woods singled to shortstop and Courtney Howard was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Anderson was thrown out at home when Baylee Westrick hit into a fielder's choice. Woods scored on a walk to Ashley Bunce.

Willamette tied the game in the top of the second. Steffany Dunn (Fr., INF, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) registered an infield hit with two outs. She scored when Myranda Ramirez (Fr., OF, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) followed with a triple to right center.

Jade Smith (Fr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS), who started in the circle for Willamette, kept the Bruins off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game, while the Bearcats extended the lead with some power hitting.

Amanda Absher (Jr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) smacked a two-run homer in the fifth inning, helping WU score four runs for a 5-1 lead. Erin Norris (Jr., C/3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) belted a 3-run homer in the top of the seventh, when the Bearcats added four more runs for the final margin.

Smith achieved the pitching win and moved her record to 5-1. She allowed eight hits, struck out four batters and walked just one Bruin. Meanwhile, four Bearcats collected two hits apiece, as GFU pitcher Erin Hento slipped to 5-2.

Batters with two hits for WU in the opener were Absher, Dunn, Ashley Pender (So., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valley HS) and Mallory Asaro (Fr., SS, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS). All four went 2 for 2 at the plate. Absher and Pender each scored twice and drove in two runs.

Bradshaw allowed just three singles to GFU while pitching every inning in the second game. She walked seven batters, but also recorded three strikeouts. She improved to 2-1 with the win. Allyssa DenDekker of George Fox also pitched seven innings. She gave up eight hits -- all singles -- and five walks, while earning three strikeouts. DenDekker dropped to 3-2.

Willamette scored one run each in the first, sixth and seventh innings. In the first stanza, Heather Winslow (Jr., OF, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) singled up the middle to start the game. She stole second base, and then went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS). Pender drove in Winslow with a single to center.

The Bearcats kept the offense going with a single by Absher and an error by the Bruins. WU had the bases loaded, but GFU turned a double play to end the inning.

Bradshaw maintained the 1-0 lead until Willamette added an insurance run in the sixth. Absher started the inning by receiving a walk. Norris also walked. Asaro provided a hit toward shortstop to load the bases. After Pender popped up on the infield, Dunn walked to force in Absher for a 2-0 lead. The Bruins then recorded back-to-back outs to stop the threat.

In the seventh, King walked and later scored for the Bearcats. Pender hit into a fielder's choice, but King reached second on an error by the second baseman. King went to third on a single by Norris and scored on a groundout by Asaro.

Willamette's top hitter in the second game was Winslow, who finished 2 for 4. Sixth other Bearcats added one hit apiece, while GFU committed three errors.

The Bearcats returned to Salem, Ore., following the pair of wins to host Pacific University in a doubleheader on Sunday, March 16. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. (PDT).

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 9
George Fox University 1
Statistics

Willamette University 3
George Fox University 0
Statistics

Victoria Bradshaw threw a complete-game 3-hitter to lead Willamette to a 3-0 win in the second game.

Victoria Bradshaw threw a complete-game 3-hitter to lead Willamette to a 3-0 win in the second game.