Softball sweeps Loggers

by Korey Hope

The Whitworth women’s softball squad scored 39 runs including five home runs in its four-game sweep of University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. last weekend. The Pirates extended their current win-streak to six games and moved to 9-7 in Northwest Conference play, while UPS fell to an 0-12 NWC record.

“We’re hitting our groove in the season,” senior Jamie Brunner said. “There is still a lot more work to be done, but now we know how each of us can contribute on a weekly basis.”

Whitworth jumped out to 6-2 lead by the fourth inning of the the first game in Saturday’s doubleheader before rain postponed play until Sunday. However, the Pirates picked up where they left off when play resumed the next morning, proceeding to put up nine runs in the fourth inning to take the first game of the weekend by a final score of 11-0. Brunner and sophomore second baseman M’Liss Powles each had two RBIs including a solo home run for Brunner, her first of the season.

The teams played two more games on Sunday, in which the Pirates outscored the Loggers 15-4. Senior right fielder Heather Hesselgesser drove in three runs over the two games and sophomore pitchers Megan Fisher and Taylor Gilbert picked up the victories, allowing a combined five hits through both games. Brunner also contributed the Pirates’ big day at the plate, hitting another home run and bringing in 5 RBIs on the day.

“There is no feeling quite like hitting a home run,” Brunner said. “It was nice to get my first couple of the season; there is nothing like a trot around the bases.”

The final game of the four-game set was moved to Monday, and Whitworth continued its winning ways. Despite accounting for just one hit through the weekend’s first three games, junior first baseman Julia Johnson came alive on Monday for a 5-RBI performance including a home run. The Pirates cruised to a 13-0 victory in five innings to earn the sweep. Gilbert (3-6) picked up her second win of the weekend in the circle, tossing a one-hit shutout against the loggers.

“I was determined to do well since I did not play well on Sunday,” Johnson said. “I always want to be the best player I can be, and Monday I finally played my game.”

The Bucs now sit fourth in the Northwest Conference behind Linfield (10-2), Pacific Lutheran (8-4) and George Fox (10-6). And with the season at about its midway point, the Pirates are confident in moving forward and aiming for an NWC Championship.

“We are a pretty confident group,” Johnson said. “But we know we can’t take any team lightly. We have to know they will be competitive and we just need to play our game.”

The Pirates will take their current six game win-streak into Portland, Ore. this weekend to face Lewis & Clark (5-11) for a pair of doubleheaders beginning Saturday, March 23 at noon.

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