Willamette Rallies Past Pacific Lutheran, 7-5, in Completion of Suspended Game

Shields and Pender Hit Back-to-Back 2-Run Doubles in Sixth Inning

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Alex Shields (Fr., C, Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS) and Ashley Pender (So., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valley HS) smacked back-to-back 2-run doubles in the sixth inning to rally Willamette University past Pacific Lutheran University, 7-5, on Tuesday, April 8 at the WU Softball Field in the completion of a previously suspended game.

The Bearcats improved to 16-14 overall, 12-8 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific Lutheran fell to 12-23 on the season, 9-14 in the NWC.

Willamette and PLU were tied 2-2 with one out in the bottom of the first inning when the game was suspended due to rain on March 8. A month ago, Emily McConnell started the game by reaching first and second on an error in left field. She scored on a single by Spencer Sherwin. Later, Sherwin scored when Kelsey Robinson hit into an error at second base.

In the bottom of the first, Heather Winslow (Jr., 1B, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) singled and moved to second as Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS) went to first on an error by the third baseman. 

Winslow eventually scored on a single by Amanda Absher (Jr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS), while King scored on a wild pitch. The game was suspended with runners at second and third.

When play resumed a month later, Kayla Rieger (Jr., OF, Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS) flied out to right field to start a double play, while Erin Norris (Jr., 3B/C, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) was thrown out at the plate.

Steffany Dunn (Fr., SS, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the second for Willamette. She took second on a single by Pender and went to third when Winslow was hit by a pitch with one out. A wild pitch allowed all three runners to advance, with Dunn reaching the plate for a 3-2 lead. WU stranded three runners at the end of the inning.

PLU scored two runs in the third and one in the fourth for a 5-3 advantage. Jessica Wallace doubled and Sherwin singled to start the third inning. A throwing error on a force play at third loaded the bases. Kailyn Osaki walked to bring in Wallace. Sherwin scored on a sacrifice fly by Lindsey Matsunaga.

In the fifth, Wallace singled up the middle with two outs, and then Sherwin and Robinson each hit singles toward shortstop. A throwing error following the single by Robinson allowed Wallace to score an unearned run.

The Bearcats continued to trail entering the bottom of the sixth, but used three hits -- including the doubles by Shields and Pender -- to pull into the lead.

Dunn singled to start the rally. One out later, Myranda Ramirez (Fr., OF, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) walked and Winslow was hit by a pitch. Shields pinch-hit for Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS) and sent a double to center field, allowing Dunn and Ramirez to score.

Pender also doubled to center to drive in Winslow and King with the go-ahead runs. The Lutes escaped the inning with Pender still at second base.

Pacific Lutheran got two runners on base after two outs in the top of the seventh, but WU pitcher Jade Smith (Fr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS), who entered the game when play resumed earlier in the afternoon, forced a groundout to end the threat. Smith upped her record to 11-3.

The Lutes outhit Willamette 10-6, but the Bearcats walked three times and were hit by four pitches. Six Bearcats registered one base hit. Winslow, King and Dunn scored twice. For PLU, Sherwin was 3 for 4 with two runs and an RBI. Wallace went 2 for 3 and scored two times.

The Bearcats will host George Fox University in a doubleheader on Wednesday, April 9. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. (PDT). The twinbill was originally scheduled for March 2, but it was postponed due to the weather.


Willamette University 7
Pacific Lutheran University 5

(Game started on March 8,
but suspended with a 2-2 tie
in the bottom of the 1st inning)

Ashley Pender drove in the winning runs with a 2-RBI double to center field.

Ashley Pender drove in the winning runs with a 2-RBI double to center field.