Willamette Splits Doubleheader with Pacific Lutheran

Bearcats Win Opener 5-2; Lutes Take Second Game 14-6

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

PARKLAND, WASH. -- Freshman pitcher Jade Smith (Chico, CA/Chico HS) threw a complete game and allowed only seven hits, leading Willamette University to a 5-2 victory over Pacific Lutheran University in the first game of a doubleheader on Monday, March 31 at PLU Field. The Bearcats smacked two home runs to help Smith earn the win.

In the second game, Pacific Lutheran won 14-6 on the run rule in five innings. The Lutes scored seven runs in the fourth and added four more in the fifth.

The Northwest Conference doubleheader was originally scheduled for Friday (March 29), but was moved to Monday due to the weather.

Willamette concluded the day at 14-13 on the season, 10-7 in the NWC. Pacific Lutheran moved to 9-19, 6-10 in the NWC.

During the opener, Erin Norris (Jr., 3B/C, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) and Victoria Bradshaw (So., P/DP, Discovery Bay, CA/Liberty HS) each smacked a home run for Willamette. Lindsey Matsunaga belted a homer for the Lutes.

Norris blasted her home run with one out in the second inning to give the Bearcats a 1-0 lead. PLU earned two hits in the bottom of the inning, but Smith got Shelby Hasse to fly out to center field for the third out with runners at second and third.

In the third inning, Steffany Dunn (Fr., SS/3B, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) singled. She advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Alexia Pratt (Fr., OF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) and later scored on a single by Ashley Pender (So., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valley HS).

The Lutes tied the game in their next at bat, as Matsunaga hit a two-run homer with two outs and Spencer Sherman on third base.

Smith limited PLU to two hits the rest of the way, as she shut down the Lutes for the final four innings. Meanwhile, Bradshaw pounded a solo homer with two outs in the fourth, and Willamette added two insurance runs in the sixth.

The sixth stanza began with Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS) hitting a single and Pender being hit by a pitch. Amanda Absher (Jr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) used a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners, who then scored on a single up the middle by Norris.

Norris finished 2 for 3 with a run and three RBIs. Five Bearcats each earned one hit. PLU's seven hits were by seven players.

Pacific Lutheran led 3-0 in the second game, after Sherwin drove in three runs with a triple up the middle in the bottom of the second. Willamette countered with five runs in the third. Absher led the way with a two-run double. Alex Shields (Fr., C, Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS), Pender and Dunn each provided an RBI single.

After the fifth run scored, Willamette had the bases loaded with one out, but a fielder's choice toward the circle led to an out at the plate and a groundout ended the inning.

The Lutes rallied and pulled away during the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, the Lutes achieved seven runs on five hits and two errors. Kailyn Osaki drove in the first two runs with a double near the left field line.

Dunn singled and scored for WU in the top of the fifth on a double by Kayla Rieger (Jr., OF, Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS) to cut PLU's lead to 10-6. The Lutes secured the win with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Two of the runs scored on a double by Katie Lowery.

Osaki, Matsunaga, Lowery and Hamura each registered two hits for the Lutes. Lowery drove in three runs, as did Sherwin. Pender was 3 for 3 with an RBI for Willamette, while Dunn and Rieger both went 2 for 3.

Leah Butters, who threw the final three innings for PLU, improved to 5-9. She allowed one run and four hits. Bradshaw started for Willamette and was credited with the loss, as her record went to 3-4.

Willamette will return to action on Saturday, April 5 with a doubleheader at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. (PDT). The teams will also play two games on Sunday, April 6, starting at 12 p.m.

BOX SCORES

Willamette University 5
Pacific Lutheran University 2
Statistics

Pacific Lutheran University 14
Willamette University 6
Run Rule, 5 innings
Statistics

Jade Smith pitched all seven innings and allowed just seven hits to record the win. She improved to 9-3 on the season.

Jade Smith pitched all seven innings and allowed just seven hits to record the win. She improved to 9-3 on the season.