by Andrew Goodwin|Sports Editor
Whitworth Pirate softball started their weekend in California with a doubleheader sweep of the California Lutheran Regals on Thursday afternoon.
The Bucs won the first game of the doubleheader 4-2 and the second 4-3. The wins moved them to 6-2 on the season.
In the first game Madi Perez, ‘17, led the way. She tossed seven strong innings, allowing two runs on five hits while walking just one Regal batter. Perez struck out more hitters than she allowed on base, totaling up seven strikeouts in the game.
“When [Perez] pitches well, the rest of the team feeds off it,” third baseman Michelle Silva, ‘18, said. “We want to play just as strong as she is.”
The Pirate offense made their contributions early in the game, with the top of the lineup leading the way. Whitworth scored three of their four runs in the first inning by taking advantage of California Lutheran errors and utilizing solid base running.
Myranda Ramirez, ‘17, singled to begin the game, moving to second after freshman right fielder Kinsey McNaught reached base on an error. With runners on second and third base after a passed ball, Shannon Wessel, ‘17, drove in the Pirates first run with a sacrifice fly. Hits by Michelle Silva and Tessa Matthews, ‘18, and a sacrifice fly by Natalie Edlin, ‘20, yielded two more runs for the Bucs in the first inning.
“The most important part about us being successful on the offensive side is supporting each other,” Silva said. “I think that’s what’s making us so successful.”
Perez’s only struggles occurred in the bottom of the first inning. She surrendered two runs on two extra base hits in the half inning. Whitworth, however, gained one run back on a McNaught RBI single and Perez carried the Pirates the rest of the way to a win.
Thursday’s second game saw the Pirates do offensive damage in the middle of the matchup. Perez, playing first base while Sarah Ballinger, ‘20, pitched, drove in a run in the top of the fourth inning with a double to right-center field. Cal. Lutheran responded by putting up their first run on Ballinger in the bottom of the inning.
California Lutheran’s middle inning offense turned out to be for naught as the Bucs put the nightcap away with two runs in the top of the fifth. Silva’s bunt single knocked in a charging Logan Miller, ‘20, for the game-winning run.
Miller finished the game with two hits and a pair of runs, capping a nice outing for Whitworth’s pair of freshmen in right field.
“Our freshmen class is very strong. The fact that they are so flexible defensively really strengthens our team and gives us so much depth,” Silva said.
The Pirates will be back on the softball field on Friday at Whittier. The first game of the doubleheader begins at noon, and the estimated start time for the second game is 2:30 p.m.