Willamette Defeats Lutes 11-3 in 5 Innings and 5-4 on Walk-off Single by Takara

Steffany Dunn (Sr., RF, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS)
Steffany Dunn (Sr., RF, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Miki Takara (Fr., 2B, Pearl City, HI/Maryknoll HS) hit a bases-loaded single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning to drive in Jocelyn Glasgo (Fr., P/OF, Rochester, WA/Tumwater HS) with the winning run, as Willamette University defeated Pacific Lutheran University, 5-4, to sweep a Northwest Conference doubleheader on Monday, March 20. The Bearcats won the first game, 11-3, on the run rule in five innings.

Both games were played at the WU Softball Field. The doubleheader was scheduled for Saturday, March 18, but was moved to Monday in hopes of better weather. It rained during significant portions of each game, but the teams completed the twinbill.

Willamette improved its record to 4-7 on the season and to 4-5 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific Lutheran fell to 13-7 overall, 9-5 in the NWC.

The Bearcats rallied from a 3-2 deficit after two and a half innings in the first game by scoring six runs in the third. The Bearcats added one run in the fourth and plated two runs in the fifth to end the game on the run rule.

In the second game, Willamette trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the seventh, but scored twice to grab the win. Taiana Creekmur (Fr., C, Honolulu, HI/St. Francis HS) scored on a bases-loaded single by Alexia Pratt (Sr., CF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) to tie the score. Glasgo scored from third when Takara followed with a walk-off single down the left field line.

Bearcats Pound Out 12 Hits in First Game

Willamette scored a run in the bottom of the first inning for a 1-0 lead in the opener. With two outs, Darian Gibson (So., LF, Newport Beach, CA/Calvary HS) singled to right center. Mallory Asaro (Sr., SS, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS) blasted a double down the left field line to drive in Gibson.

The Lutes countered with three runs in the top of the second. Kathryn Hatlen walked and later scored from second with two outs on a double by Jessica Alcomendas. Emily McConnell hit an RBI single and then stole second base. Becca Sorenson brought in McConnell with a double to left.

Creekmur scored in Willamette's half of the second inning. The Bearcats still trailed 3-2 entering the bottom of the third. That's when the Bearcats exploded for six runs to take an 8-3 lead.

Takara walked and Alex Shields (Sr., C, Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS) singled, before Gibson bunted toward the circle. Pitcher Marissa Miller threw wildly toward third, which allowed Takara to score. Shields went to third, while Gibson wound up at second.

After Asaro was intentionally walked, Kea Gier (Fr., 3B, Kaneohe, HI/Iolani School) hit an RBI single to left field. Shields scored, but Gibson was out at the plate. One out later, Vanessa Almaraz (Fr., OF, Simi Valley, CA/Simi Valley HS) pinch-hit and was walked, loading the bases.

Asaro scored on a wild pitch, while the other runners advanced a base. Steffany Dunn (Sr., RF, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) hit a two-RBI double to center field. Pratt singled toward third base. Dunn crossed the plate on a double-steal just before Pratt was tagged out to end the inning.

Takara singled to open the bottom of the fourth and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Shields. Gibson smacked a double to center field, allowing Takara to score.

Creekmur walked for Willamette in the seventh inning. Olivia Scott (Fr., C, San Francisco, CA/Lowell HS) pinch-ran for Creekmur and scored one out later when Dunn tripled to right center. Dunn reached home later in the inning on a wild pitch with the bases loaded to end the game on the run rule.

Dunn was 3 for 3 with two runs and four RBIs. She hit for three-fourths of the cycle, missing only the home run. Gibson was 2 for 3 with a double, a run scored and one RBI. Pratt also went 2 for 3. The Bearcats outhit the Lutes 12-5.

Starting pitcher Jade Smith (Sr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS) allowed five hits and three runs to improve to 3-4. Smith recorded two strikeouts and two walks. Miller, now 7-3, allowed nine runs (five earned) and 10 hits in four innings.

Rally in 7th Inning Leads to Sweep of Doubleheader

In the second game, Willamette grabbed a 2-0 lead when Asaro doubled with Takara and Gibson on base with one out in the bottom of the first inning. PLU surged into a 3-2 lead in the top of the second, with all thee runs scoring on a home run by Alcomendas.

The Lutes remained in front until Willamette equalized the score in the fourth inning. Pratt walked to open the stanza. Takara followed with a sacrifice bunt, sending Pratt to second. Shields walked. Gibson hit an RBI single through the left side, which allowed Pratt to score.

PLU regained the lead in the top of the fifth. McConnell began the inning with a single up the middle. She went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sorensen and reached third on a ground out by Samantha Simundson. McConnell score on a single by Annie Overland to give the Lutes a 4-3 advantage.

Willamette still trailed by the same score with two outs and the bases empty in the bottom of the seventh. Creekmur walked to start the rally. Glasgo singled to right field, and Creekmur advanced to third when the ball was bobbled. Dunn was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Pratt's game-tying single went through the left side of the infield to score Creekmur. Takara batted next and drove in Dunn with the game-winning hit.

The Bearcats gained a 9-7 edge in total his during the game. Takara, Gibson and Pratt each finished 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.

Dunn was 0 for 2, but was hit by two pitches. She provided a .700 batting average for the series (7 of 10) with five RBIs, two runs, two doubles and a triple. Dunn also walked once, was hit by a pitch three times, and earned a .786 on-base percentage.

Morgan Penn (Fr., P/1B, Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS) pitched the first four innings for Willamette. Makayla Hari (Sr., P, Salem, OR/Blanchet Catholic HS) tossed the next 2 1/3 innings effectively, while allowing only two hits and one run. Glasgo pitched the final two outs in the top of seventh and recorded one strikeout. She is 1-0 on the season.

PLU pitcher Elli Rassbach threw her second complete game of the series, but fell to 5-4 with the loss. Rassbach threw 109 pitches on Sunday and 125 pitches on Monday.

Up Next for Willamette

The Bearcats are set to complete a suspended game at University of Puget Sound on Saturday, March 25. The game was stopped due to the weather after seven innings with the score tied 9-9 on Feb. 26. After the suspended game is completed, the Bearcats and the Loggers will play two more games on March 25 to complete the series. Action is set to begin at 12 p.m. (PDT).