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WILLAMETTE 8-6 GEORGE FOX 1-0: Bearcats Tighten Hold on 3rd with Sweep of Bruins
NEWBERG, Ore. – Tightening their hold on third place in the Northwest Conference softball standings and a possible berth in the four-team NWC Tournament in two weeks, the visiting Willamette University Bearcats swept the George Fox University Bruins 8-1 and 6-0 in a makeup doubleheader Friday afternoon here at Morse Field.
Willamette is now 15-12 overall and 12-7 in the conference, a game-and-a-half ahead of Whitworth University and Pacific University, who are 9-7 and 10-8 respectively in league play. George Fox, which is in seventh place, slipped to 9-21 overall and 3-15 in the NWC.
In the opener, Talissa Huntsman (2-2) went the distance for the Bearcats, spacing seven hits with four strikeouts and a walk. Allyssa DenDekker (2-9) took the setback for the Bruins, surrendering 14 hits but only three earned runs while fanning two and walking none.
Willamette took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Mica Romero doubled and scored on Huntsman’s looping single down the right-field line, then cemented the win with six in the second, five of them unearned due to five Bruin errors. Kelli Snyder and Susie Krewer had RBI singles and Romero knocked in a run with a double to key the rally. The Bearcats added a final run in the seventh on consecutive singles by Krewer, Hope Kloczko, and Courtney Galli.
George Fox got its only run of the day in the sixth as Nicole Renteria doubled to left, Kris Trindle singled her to third, and Bethany Chriss lined a single to left as Renteria scored. The Bruins left eight runners stranded against Huntsman.
Kloczko had three hits and Romero, Huntsman, Krewer and Galli had two each for the Bearcats. Trindle was the only Bruin with two hits.
In the nightcap, Alex Watilo (12-3) pitched a one-hitter and allowed only three runners in all, striking out seven and walking none. Renteria reached on an error in the first, singled down the left-field line for the only Bruin hit leading off the fourth, and Trindle followed with a fielder’s choice grounder to second, reaching first after a swipe tag trying to get Renteria was missed.
George Fox hurler Erin Hento (7-10) matched Watilo through four innings, allowing only a double and three runners on errors, until the Bearcats broke through in the fifth. Galli singled to lead off the frame and scored with two out when Sierra Lessel lined a double over the head and off the glove of Shelby Briske in right to break the scoreless deadlock. Romero singled to center to score Lessel for a 2-0 lead.
The Bearcats sealed the win with four in the seventh. Romero slugged a three-run home run to left, her fifth of the season, after Kiley Herrick struck out but reached on a wild pitch and Lessel singled. A walk to Nichole Robertson, a ground out, and an RBI single by Krewer finished the Willamette scoring.
Lessel, Romero, and Krewer had two hits each, combining for six of the Bearcats’ total of eight hits off Hento.
NEXT: George Fox continues its home stand Saturday, hosting Pacific Lutheran University Saturday in a twinbill at 12:00 noon ... Willamette hosts conference-leading and No. 1-ranked Linfield College Saturday at 11:00 a.m., then will play a makeup game against the University of Puget Sound following the Linfield pair.