Bearcats Kick Off Road Trip with Sweep of Occidental

Winning Streak at Nine After 10-4, 12-1 Victories over Tigers

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- Willamette University kicked off its four-day, eight-game road trip through Southern California in dominant fashion on Sunday, using a barrage of hits and strong pitching to sweep a non-conference doubleheader from Occidental College on Sunday, March 23.

The Bearcats, who won their eighth and ninth games in a row, defeated the Tigers 10-4 in game one, before earning a 12-1 victory in the second contest, which was shortened to five innings on the run rule.

Willamette improved to 11-6 overall. Occidental, which competes in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, fell to 4-24 on the season.

Jade Smith (Fr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS) earned the win in the first game for the Bearcats, pushing her record to 7-1 on the season. She allowed two runs over a total of five innings. Smith pitched the first three stanzas, then gave way to Makayla Hari (Fr., P, Salem, OR/Blanchet Catholic HS) for two frames, before re-entering to pitch the final two innings.

Willamette essentially put the game out of reach with a nine-run outburst in the top of the first inning.

Heather Winslow (Jr., OF, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) singled to center field to start the game, then stole second. Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS) reached first on a bunt single, while Winslow came all the way around to score on a fielding error at first base.

With Ashley Pender (So., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valley HS) at the plate, King stole second and scored when Pender belted a double down the left field line. The next Bearcat batter, Amanda Absher (Jr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS), reached on a fielding error, bringing Pender home.

After that, the Bearcats loaded the bases when Erin Norris (Jr., C/3B, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) slapped an infield single to third and Alex Shields (Fr., C, Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS) was hit by a pitch.

A single from Steffany Dunn (Fr., INF, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) brought Absher in from third, but it was a bases-clearing triple from Kayla Rieger (Jr., OF, Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS/Adelphi Univ.) that really broke the game open, giving Willamette a 7-0 lead before the Tigers recorded their first out.

Myranda Ramirez (Fr., OF, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) drew a walk, advancing to second when Winslow -- batting for the second time in the inning -- grounded out to shortstop. Rieger then scored on an RBI groundout from King, while Ramierez, who had moved all the way over to third, came home on an RBI single from Pender.

Willamette's only other run came in the third. With two out, Winslow drew a walk, stole second, and scored on a pinch-hit RBI single from Alexia Pratt (Fr., OF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS).

In game two, the Bearcats again jumped on Oxy early, this time with a 10-run second inning.

Absher, the leadoff batter, reached on an error at third base, and Norris made the Tigers pay, blasting a two-run homer over the left field fence. Rieger then singled, advancing all the way to third base on Dunn's quality sacrifice bunt. Pratt walked and stole second, giving the Bearcats a pair of runners in scoring position with one out.

A single by Ramirez scored one run, and Winslow loaded the bases with a bunt single. Pratt scored from third on an RBI groundout by King, while Ramirez came home the very next at bat: on a single from Pender, who advanced to second on the throw home.

When Absher reached on a fielding error for the second time in the inning, Winslow and Pender both scored, making the score 7-0. Norris then drew a walk, followed by a perfectly executed double steal to advance Absher and Norris into scoring position. Back-to-back doubles from Rieger and Dunn scored three more runs to cap the inning.

Willamette padded the margin further with a pair of runs in the third. Ramirez started things with a leadoff single, scoring on a triple from Winslow. With two outs and Winslow still on third, Norris then came through with a clutch single to left, giving WU a 12-0 lead.

Hayley Glantz (Jr., P, Reno, NV/Robert McQueen HS) picked up the win for the Bearcats, scattering five hits over five innings while allowing just one run.

The next stop on the Willamette's California trip will be California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif. First pitch for the Bearcats' doubleheader against the Regals will be 1 p.m. (PDT). CLU will provide Live Stats for the contest.

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 10
Occidental College 4
Statistics

Willamette University 12
Occidental College 1
Run Rule, 5 innings
Statistics

Erin Norris reached base six times in seven plate appearances over two games on Sunday, going 3 of 4 at the plate with two walks and a hit by pitch. She also hit her third home run of the season.

Erin Norris reached base six times in seven plate appearances over two games on Sunday, going 3 of 4 at the plate with two walks and a hit by pitch. She also hit her third home run of the season.