Bearcats Rally from 7-0 Deficit, Win 10-7 in 9 Innings to Split with Pomona-Pitzer

Willamette Completes Spring Break Trip with Thrilling Finish

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

CLAREMONT, CALIF. -- Despite trailing 7-0 after three innings, the Willamette University softball team fought back against Pomona-Pitzer on Wednesday, March 26, eventually tying the Sagehens in the top of the sixth, before winning 10-7 in nine innings. The victory allowed the Bearcats to split with the Sagehens, who won 5-0 in the first game of the doubleheader.

Freshman catcher Alex Shields (Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS) provided the game-winning hit, a single to center field that scored Ashley Pender (So., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valley HS) and Erin Norris (Jr., 3B/C, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) with no outs in the top of the ninth inning. Shields also scored on the play following an error by the center fielder.

Pender began the inning at second base under the international tie-breaker, in which the player who made the final out in the previous inning is placed at second to start the next inning. Norris singled to left field to move Pender to third. Norris stole second base before scoring on the single by Shields.

Willamette's next three batters were put out by the Sagehens, but the Bearcats held a 10-7 lead.

Jade Smith (Fr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS), who entered the game in the third inning for WU, faced just three batters in the bottom of the ninth to complete the comeback. She allowed one run and five hits in seven innings. She struck out two batters and gave up one walk. Smith upped her record to 8-2.

With the victory, Willamette moved to 12-11 on the season. The Bearcats went 3-5 on their eight-game Spring Break trip. Pomona-Pitzer, which has won three of its last four games, ended the day at 4-19 overall.

Momentum from the Sagehens' shutout win in the first game carried over to the start of game two. Pomona-Pitzer scored three runs in the first inning, added two runs in the second and tacked on two more in the third.

Boden hit an RBI single for Pomona-Pitzer with runners at second and third in the first inning, before Caitlyn Hynes provided a sacrifice fly. Meagan Tokunaga hit an RBI single through the right side with two outs.

In the second inning, Sofia Baig and Ashley Morello walked. Aryana Yee advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt toward third. With two outs, Boden sent a two-run single to center field.

Paige Oliver singled up the middle to start the bottom of the third. Smith replaced starter Hayley Glantz (Jr., P, Reno, NV/Robert McQueen HS) in the circle. Oliver stole second and Tokunaga belted a two-run homer to left field.

Pomona-Pitzer had eight hits in the first three innings. Smith limited the Sagehens to just three hits over the next six innings, giving Willamette an opportunity to catch up and then win the game.

In Willamette's half of the fourth inning, Norris received a leadoff walk. She went to second on a grounder by Shields and scored on a single by Victoria Bradshaw (So., DP/P, Discovery Bay, CA/Liberty HS).

Myranda Ramirez (Fr., OF, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) singled to start the fifth. She stole second, and scored when Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS) earned a single with one out. King stole second, reached third on a single by Pender, and scored on a two-out hit by Shields.

Willamette's rally was underway, but the Bearcats still trailed, 7-3.

The Sagehens saw their lead disappear in the sixth when Willamette plated four runs. Bradshaw walked and Steffany Dunn (Fr., SS, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) doubled to put runners at second and third. Alexia Pratt (Fr., OF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) reached base on an error by the first baseman.

With the bases loaded, Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to score Bradshaw. Heather Winslow (Jr., 1B, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) walked to refill the bases. With two outs, Pender hit into an error, enabling Dunn and Pratt to score. Norris drove in Winslow with a single.

Bradshaw doubled in the top of the seventh, but was left at third three outs later. In the eighth, WU almost scored. With one out, Jenna King, who singled, was at second, and Ramirez, who began the inning on second base, was on third. Pender flied out to center field. Morello threw out Ramirez at the plate.

A similar ending occurred in the bottom of the inning. With one out and the bases loaded, Boden hit a fly ball to center field. Pratt caught the ball and threw home, successfully cutting down pinch-runner Quinn Sheehy.

In the second game, King was 3 for 4 with a run and an RBI for WU, and Shields finished 3 for 5 with three RBIs and a run scored. Norris was 2 for 4 with two runs and an RBI, while Bradshaw was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI.

Boden went 3 for 4 with three RBIs for the Sagehens in game two. She also scored a run. Morello was 2 for 4 with two runs scored. Tokunaga went 2 for 4 with her a homer, one run scored and three RBIs.

In the opener, Pomona-Pitzer received a complete-game from pitcher Bianca Cockrell. She held the Bearcats to two hits, while recording three strikeouts. Winslow singled in the fourth and Pender hit an infield single in the seventh.

The Sagehens scored twice in the first inning. With one out and the bases loaded, Hynes walked. Oliver drove in the second run with a single.

Hynes singled in the third inning, went to second on a sacrifice by Oliver and eventually scored on a single by Katie Page. The Sagehens increased their lead to 5-0 with two runs in the fifth. Oliver walked and scored on a double by Tokunaga. Later, Tokunaga reached home on a single by Page.

Cockrell won the first game, as she improved to 3-8. Bradshaw, who pitched the first 2 1/3 innings, fell to 3-3. For Pomona-Pitzer on offense, Page was 2 for 2 with two RBIs, while Yee went 2 for 4 and scored once.

Willamette returns to Northwest Conference action this weekend. The Bearcats, 8-5 and in third place in the NWC, will play twice at Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, March 29, followed by two games at the University of Puget Sound on Sunday, March 30. Action begins at 12 p.m. (PDT) each day.

BOX SCORES

Pomona-Pitzer 5
Willamette University 0
Statistics

Willamette University 10
Pomona-Pitzer 7
9 innings
Statistics

Freshman catcher Alex Shields hit a game-winning two-run single and also scored the final run, as Willamette won 10-7 in nine innings.

Freshman catcher Alex Shields hit a game-winning two-run single and also scored the final run, as Willamette won 10-7 in nine innings.