by Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor
Playing a home game at Hermiston High School due to snow didn’t hurt the Whitworth Pirates this weekend as they defeated the Willamette Bearcats 6-2, 6-2, 9-4 before losing 10-6 in their first matchups of Northwest Conference play.
The series win moves the Bucs to 12-4 on the season and 3-1 in conference play. Willamette dropped to 2-5 and 2-3 in the Northwest Conference.
“Winning the first couple of games was important to us,” junior third-baseman Michelle Silva said. “We’ve been working hard indoors so we were ready to see that pay off.”
In Saturday’s first game the Bucs started quickly, putting up a first inning run on the Bearcats. Silva singled home Myranda Ramirez, ‘17, to give Whitworth the lead. It was Silva’s first of five RBIs on the game.
While her first RBI opened the game, Silva’s next four put it away. After a pair of Willamette runners scored in the top of the fifth, Silva gave the Pirates a 5-2 lead with a grand slam to left field.
“I was just telling myself to get up there and hit the ball hard,” Silva said.
The three-run lead would be all Madi Perez, ‘17, needed in the circle. For her part, the senior pitcher tossed seven strong innings. She struck out six and allowed ten baserunners on four hits, four walks, and two hit batsmen. Perez only allowed two runs, both in the top of the fifth.
During game two, Perez used her prowess at the plate to contribute as well. She blasted a solo home run to center field to extend a Pirate lead to 2-0 in the third inning. After Willamette tied the game at two in the top of the fourth inning, Shannon Wessel, ‘17, singled to right field to pick up two Whitworth runs.
Though Natalie Edlin, ‘20, blasted a home run to extend the lead to 6-2 in sixth inning, three runs would have been fine with Ashley Trueblood, ‘19. Trueblood gave up just the two runs over six innings of work. She struck out seven and walked four.
Sunday’s first game started just as quickly for Whitworth as Saturday’s. Wessel started the Pirates off with a 2-0 lead after a homerun to right field. Then she did so again to make the lead 7-0 in the fourth inning. The Bucs would lead the rest of the way for a 9-4 victory.
The fourth game of the weekend reversed the trend of the first three games as Willamette’s offense dominated the first two innings. The Bearcats jumped out to a 5-0 lead on three home runs, and the Bucs couldn’t catch up. The Pirate offense tried to close the gap with three runs in the third inning, but the Bearcats pulled away to win 10-6.
“The second day is always a little tough [on pitchers],” Wessel said. “Each team has had one day to figure out the pitching and sometimes that allows for more hits.”
Next up, the Pirates head to Lewis & Clark to take on the Pioneers on March 18 and 19. Lewis & Clark currently sits last in the Northwest Conference with an 0-4 conference record, and an 0-8 overall record. The two teams will play at noon and 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.