California Lutheran Defeats Willamette Twice in Softball, 9-6 and 8-7

Regals Win Second Game with Run in Eighth Inning

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

THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF. -- California Lutheran scored the winning run with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat Willamette University, 8-7, in the second game of a doubleheader on Monday, March 24 to complete a two-game sweep of the Bearcats. The Regals won the first game 9-6.

With the two wins, CLU upped its record to 14-8. The Bearcats dropped to 11-8, including 2-2 on their eight-game Spring Break trip.

California Lutheran moved out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the opener. Blake Lewis reached base on a fielder's choice, as WU recorded the second out. Lewis advanced to second on a wild pitch, and Stephanie Martello walked. Danika Green doubled to center field to drive in Lewis and Sakamoto. A pop-up to shortstop ended the threat.

The Bearcats countered with two runs in the second. Amanda Absher (Jr., C, Elk Grove, CA/Franklin HS) was hit by a pitch. Erin Norris (Jr., 3B/C, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) batted next and smacked a homer down the left field line. It was her fourth home run of the season.

CLU surged in front with seven runs in the fourth. The Regals earned five hits during the inning, and benefited from three walks and a hit batsman.

Kayla Sakamoto began the inning with a triple to right field. She scored when Lewis followed with a double to right center. Three other players -- Kelly Lockwood, Liz Mertel, and Shonna Christianson -- recorded RBI singles during the inning. CLU took a 9-2 advantage.

Willamette left three runners on base in the fourth, but gradually reduced the lead with single runs in the fifth and sixth, plus two runs in the seventh.

In the fifth, Ashley Pender (So., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valley HS) tripled near the right field line. Absher walked, and went to second on a groundout by Norris. Pender scored when Mallory Asaro (Fr., SS, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS) grounded out. The Regals got out of the inning with another groundout.

Willamette's run in the sixth was scored by Steffany Dunn (Fr., INF, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS), who singled, stole second base, and scored on a two-out double by Jenna King (Jr., OF, Camarillo, CA/Adolfo Camarillo HS).

Absher and Norris walked to start the seventh inning. Asaro singled to center to load the bases. Absher crossed the plate on a single by Heather Winslow (Jr., OF, Oregon City, OR/Oregon City HS) and Norris scored when Dunn reached first on an error by Martello at shortstop.

Myranda Ramirez (Fr., OF, Sunnyvale, CA/Homestead HS) lined into an unassisted double play by Martello, and Winslow hit into the final out with another line drive to Martello.

Asaro and Kayla Rieger (Jr., OF, Anacortes, WA/Anacortes HS) each went 2 for 3 and drove in one run for WU in the first game. Norris scored twice and earned two RBIs. The Bearcats outhit the Regals, 8-7, but finished with 10 runners left on base. Seven players earned one hit apiece for the Regals.

Willamette scored twice in the opening stanza of the second game. With one out, Ramirez hit an infield single. She stole second, and then went to third after Pender and Absher walked. Norris also walked, forcing in Ramirez. Dunn walked one out later to drive in Pender.

The Regals took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the inning. There were two outs when Lewis and Martello hit back-to-back singles. Green smacked a double to drive in both runners. Pinch-runner Taylor Beacham scored later on a single by Lockwood.

Four runs in the fourth gave Willamette a 6-3 lead. Dunn reached base on an error, Alexia Pratt (Fr., OF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) walked and Molly Lathrop (Fr., OF, Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma HS) singled to load the bases. A wild pitch brought home Dunn.

Winslow walked. A wild pitch allowed Pratt to score, and a throwing error by the catcher let Lathrop score, as Winslow went to third. A groundout by Pender drove in Winslow.

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, California Lutheran started a rally with three consecutive walks. A single by Katelyn Downing sent two runs across the plate. Two more runs scored on a double by Sakamoto for a 7-6 lead.

The Bearcats tied the game in the top of the seventh. Absher singled up the middle, and King entered the game as a pinch-runner. Two batters flied out to center field before Asaro received a pinch-hit walk. Alex Shields (Fr., C, Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS) added a pinch-hit single to drive home King.

In the eighth inning, the teams used the international tie-breaker, in which the last player to be put out in the team's previous at bat is placed on second base to start the inning. Lathrop was on second for Willamette, but three consecutive groundouts to third allowed CLU to keep her from scoring.

Andrea Brackpool began the inning at second for the Regals. WU pitcher Makayla Hari (Fr., P, Salem, OR/Blanchet Catholic HS), who entered the game in the sixth, struck out Mertel. Christianson hit into an error and Downing walked to load the bases. Brackpool scored when Sakamoto walked.

Downing (4-4), who pitched the final 3 2/3 innings in the opener, tossed the final 4 innings of game two and recorded both wins. For WU, Victoria Bradshaw (So., P, Discovery Bay, CA/Liberty HS) took the loss in the opener and fell to 3-2, while Hari (0-3) suffered the loss in the second game.

Willamette will play two games at the University of Redlands on Tuesday, March 25. First pitch in Redlands, Calif., is set for 1 p.m. (PDT).


California Lutheran University 9
Willamette University 6

California Lutheran University 8
Willamette University 7
(8 innings)

Erin Norris belted a two-run homer in the first game. It was her fourth home run this season.

Erin Norris belted a two-run homer in the first game. It was her fourth home run this season.