Northwest Nazarene Downs Bearcats, 9-1 and 10-2, during Doubleheader in Idaho

Breianna Mcleod (So., OF, Kailua Kona, HI/West Hawaii Explorations Acad.)
Breianna Mcleod (So., OF, Kailua Kona, HI/West Hawaii Explorations Acad.)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

NAMPA, Idaho -- Northwest Nazarene University earned 11 hits in the first game and registered nine hits in the second game, as the Nighthawks defeated Willamette University, 9-1 and 10-2, in a doubleheader at Halle Softball Complex. Both games were won on the run rule in five innings.

The Nighthawks, who compete in NCAA Division II and the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC), improved to 9-5 on the season. Willamette, which is a member of NCAA Division III and the Northwest Conference (NWC), fell to 0-4.

For Willamette, Breianna Mcleod (So., OF, Kailua Kona, HI/West Hawaii Explorations Acad.) hit a solo home run in the first game and Bailey Hillmick (Fr., DP/UT, Athena, OR/Weston-McEween HS) smacked a solo homer in the second game. Kylie Orr of NNU belted a two-run homer during the first game. Anna Williams provided the Nighthawks with a two-run homer in the second game.

"It is good to see this team battle against good competition," Willamette Head Coach Damian Williams said. "It is preparing us for our tough conference schedule."

Mcleod Hits Leadoff Home Run to Start Game 1, but Nighthawks Prevail

Mcleod blasted a leadoff home run over the right field fence to open the first game. The 1-0 lead lasted until Orr hit a two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the first inning to give Northwest Nazarene a 2-1 edge. The Nighthawks added one run in each of the next two innings and took a 4-1 margin into the top of the fourth.

Willamette picked up its first hit since Mcleod's homer when Jewel Fleckenstein (Fr., SS, Wasilla, AK/Mat-Su Middle College School) singled to right with one out in the top of the fourth. Maya Shipway (Jr., 1B, Bothell, WA/The Bear Creek School), who walked prior to Fleckenstein's at bat, advanced to third on the single.

NNU starter Jackie Vargas forced a strikeout and a pop-up to get out of the fourth. Earlier, Vargas got Amber Griffith (Fr., C, Brush Prairie, WA/Hockinson HS) to fly out after Vanessa Almaraz (Jr., OF, Simi Valley, CA/Simi Valley HS) went to first, second and third on an error in left field with two outs in the third inning. Vargas, now 1-0, pitched the first four innings and allowed one run and two hits, while recording five strikeouts and four walks.

In the bottom of the fourth, Northwest Nazarene plated four runs to grab an 8-1 lead. Key at bats included a one-out triple to left center by Williams, a sacrifice fly when Orr batted next, plus an RBI double by Ivy Hommel and a two-run single by Madalyn Smith.

The Nighthawks scored their ninth run in the fifth to put the 8-run rule into effect. Anna Olson, who singled to begin the frame, went to third on a one-out double by Williams, and then scored on a two-out single by Abigail Otto. Williams went 3 for 4 during the game, with a single, double and triple. She scored once and had one RBI. Otto and Madison Strickleer each finished 2 of 3 for NNU.

Nighthawks Complete Doubleheader Sweep with Win in Game 2

Willamette and Northwest Nazarene were tied 1-1 after one and a half innings in the second game, but the Nighthawks tallied four runs in the bottom of the second and added three runs in the third to take a commanding 8-2 lead. Two runs by the Nighthawks in the fifth inning ended the game on the run rule with a 10-2 score.

Lauren Bassett doubled with one out in the bottom of the first, and eventually advanced the remaining two bases on wild pitches, to give Northwest Nazarene a 1-0 lead. Hillmick batted first in the top of the second for Willamette and connected with the ball for home run to right center.

NNU's four-run second inning included an RBI double by Emma Longoria and a two-run homer by Williams. Maia McNicoll, who doubled to start the inning, later scored with two outs on Longoria's double. All four runs were scored with two outs and three of the runs were unearned.

The Bearcats pulled within 5-2 in the top of the third when Payten Healy (Fr., SS, Crescent City, CA/Del Norte HS) singled to left with no outs, went to second on a passed ball, and scored on a double by Jocelyn Glasgo (Jr., DP/P, Rochester, WA/Tumwater HS).

Lyndzie Parker supplied the Nighthawks with two-RBI double in the third inning, while Hommel added an RBI single. In the fifth inning, the Nighthawks received RBIs from a double by McNicholl and a bases loaded walk for Audree Montmeny. 

McNicoll was 2 for 3 during the game with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI for NNU. Seven Nighthawks each registered one hit, including the home run by Williams. Jordan Adams, 5-1, started and went four innings in the circle to get the win for NNU

Willamette finished with four hits -- one each by the top four players in the batting order. Hillmick's homer and Glasgo's double led the way, while Kilani Fierstos (Fr., 2B, Redmond, OR/Redmond HS) and Healy both singled.

Breianna Mcleod (So., OF, Kailua Kona, HI/West Hawaii Explorations Acad.)

Big Moment of the Day for Willamette

It's a great start to the day when the very first batter of the
game blasts a solo home run. That's what happened for
Willamette's Breianna Mcleod on Saturday, as she powered
the ball over the right field fence.