by Andrew Forhan
The Willamette Bearcats traveled to Spokane and took three of four games against the Whitworth softball team this weekend in Northwest Conference action.
In the first doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Marks Field, Whitworth was swept by Willamette. The Bearcats won the first game by a score of 5-0 and finished the day with an 8-3 victory.
Willamette pitcher Alex Watilo kept the Pirate bats quiet in the first game of the twin bill, throwing a complete game three-hit shutout to earn the victory.
In the second game, the Willamette offense scored five runs in the third and fourth innings to take a 5-0 lead and go on to an eventual 8-3 win.
On Sunday, Willamette needed two extra frames to defeat the Bucs in the third game of the series, earning a 5-4 win in nine innings.
After falling behind 4-1, the Bucs scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie up the contest. Three of the first four Buc batters that came to the plate in the seventh got hits, and senior catcher Caty Lieseke drove in two runs with a double off the left field wall that was a matter of feet from being a walk-off home run. Instead Lieseke was left stranded on second base and the game went to extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Willamette scored what turned out to be the winning run with runners on first and third as a Bearcat runner scored from third when the Bucs threw out the runner attempting to steal second base.
The Pirates got revenge in the final game of the series, with an 8-1 victory. FreshmanpitcherEmilyAnderson went the distance and earned the victory on the mound. She was also 2-4 at the plate, and part of a sixth inning rally in which the Bucs plated six runs. After taking a 2-1 lead in the fifth, Bucs sophomore shortstop Heather Hesselgesser led off the bottom of the sixth with a stand-up triple down the right field line. Freshman centerfielder Kimmi Kumangai, junior second basemen Sami Parr, freshman leftfielder Jill Pecka and Anderson each had hits in the inning as well.
After allowing a one-out single in the top of the seventh, Anderson got the final two batters to fly out and end the game.
Willamette improved to 19-17 overall, and 16-12 in the NWC while the Bucs dropped to 18-16 overall, and 16-10 in NWC play. The regular season finale for the Pirates will be a doubleheader against Pacific Lutheran in Moses Lake on Tuesday, April 19.