Softball | Sunday, March 16, 2014
Bearcats Extend Winning Streak to Seven with Sweep of Pacific
Smith, Bradshaw Toss Complete-Game Six-Hitters for Willamette
SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University completed a perfect weekend on Sunday, taking both games of a Northwest Conference doubleheader against Pacific University at the Willamette Softball Field. The Bearcats defeated the Boxers 5-0 in game one, before earning a 3-2 victory in the second contest.
The Bearcats, who won their sixth and seventh games in a row, improved to 9-6 overall, 8-5 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific fell to 11-8 on the season, 6-7 in the NWC.
Jade Smith (Fr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS) pitched seven shutout innings for the Bearcats in the first game, improving her record to 6-1 on the year. Smith allowed just six hits while striking out five and allowing zero walks.
Willamette got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning.
Heather Winslow (Jr., OF, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) was hit by a pitch to start the game, then stole second. Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS) moved Winslow over to third on a groundout, before Ashley Pender (So., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valley HS) connected on an RBI single.
The Bearcats scored again in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Pender smacked a leadoff double, reached third on a sacrifice bunt by Amanda Absher (Jr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS), and scored on a sacrifice fly from Erin Norris (Jr., C/3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS).
One frame later, Myranda Ramirez (Fr., OF, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) started a two-out rally with a single, stole second, and scored on a fielding error by Pacific shortstop Quirena Natividad.
Leading 3-0, Willamette scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth to put the game out of reach.
With one out, Steffany Dunn (Fr., INF, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) and Ramirez reached on a walk and a single, respectively. An RBI double from Winslow scored Dunn, while Ramirez scored on a sac fly by Alex Shields (Fr., C, Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS).
Winslow (2 of 2), Pender (2 of 4) and Ramirez (2 of 2) each achieved two hits for WU in the game.
In game two, Willamette achieved just four hits, but still showed the ability to manufacture key runs behind solid pitching.
Victoria Bradshaw (So., P, Discovery Bay, CA/Liberty HS). Bradshaw (3-1) tossed a complete-game six-hitter, allowing two runs (one earned) and five walks while striking out six.
Although the Boxers struck the initial blow, plating one run in the top of the first inning, Willamette responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Again, Winslow started things off, this time with a walk and a stolen base.
Later in the inning, Winslow scored on another throwing error by Natividad, while Pender -- who reached on the error -- came around to score on another Norris sac fly.
The Bearcats earned an insurance run in the fifth. With two out, Dunn on third and Winslow on first, the Boxers managed to catch Winslow in a rundown between first and second base. During the rundown, the alert Dunn took off for home, crossing the plate before Winslow was tagged out.
Willamette ultimately needed that insurance run too, as the Boxers rallied in the top of the seventh.
A pair of singles put runners on second and third with only one out before Becca Moen's groundout plated one run. A stolen base and a four-pitch walk loaded the bases, but Bradshaw got Kylee Oshiro to line out to Alexia Pratt (Fr., OF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) in center field to end the game.
Having vaulted all the way into third place in the NWC, Willamette will take a break from conference play over the next two weeks. Instead, the Bearcats will take a four-day, eight-game road trip through southern California beginning next Sunday, March 23 at Occidental College.
First pitch for the doubleheader against the Tigers is set for 12 p.m. (PDT).