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WHITWORTH 9-4, GEORGE FOX 1-5: Bruins Clinch Tourney Berth in Split with Pirates
NEWBERG, Ore. – Allyssa DenDekker retired the last 16 Whitworth University Pirates in order, leading the George Fox University Bruins to a 5-4 win in the second game of their Northwest Conference softball doubleheader that earned them a split on the day and a berth in next weekend’s NWC Tournament Saturday afternoon here at Morse Field.
Taylor Gilbert threw a two-hitter and the Pirates hammered out 12 hits in taking the day’s first game 9-1 in a game shortened to six innings by the college eight-run ‘mercy’ rule.
George Fox (19-19, NWC 14-12) needed only one win in this weekend’s four-game series with Whitworth (18-20, NWC 11-15) to secure the fourth and final spot in the conference tournament, which is set for Saturday-Sunday, Apr. 21-22, at a site still to be determined. It will be the Bruins’ first appearance in the NWC Tournament. The fifth-place Pirates needed a sweep of the four-game set.
Game 1 - Whitworth 9, at George Fox 1
Gilbert (9-4) threw a gem in the opener for the Pirates, striking out four with no walks. The only hits she allowed were a one-out double off the top of the center-field fence in the 4th by Felicia Chavez and a one-out shot in the 7th that cleared the right-field fence by Jenny Milton, her first home run of the season.
The Pirates got to George Fox starter Erin Hento (7-6) in the 3rd. Caylan Haehl bunted for a hit, advanced on a ground out, and scored on Sami Parr’s single up the middle, with Parr taking second on the throw home. Jamie Brunner singled to left to score Parr, and Julia Johnson doubled in Brunner. Johnson went to third on the throw to the plate, and scored the inning’s fourth run on a wild pickoff try by catcher McKenzie Beeson.
The Pirates added two more in the 4th when Jessica Ross tripled to right and scored on a wild relay throw, and Hanna Boyd singled, stole second, and scored when Parr got a triple on a diving attempt at a catch by right fielder Chavez that just missed. Three more Pirate runs came in the 6th off left-hander Rachel Fielder, all unearned, on a two-run double by Parr and an RBI single by Sacha Clow.
Parr finished with a 3-for-4 game, lacking only a home run for the cycle, with four RBIs. Brunner, Johnson, and Haehl each had two hits for the Pirates.
Game 2 - at George Fox 5, Whitworth 4
DenDekker (6-6) struggled early, allowing two runs in the 1st and two unearned runs in the 2nd, but after getting the final out in the 2nd, did not allow another base runner for the rest of the game. She finished with a four-hitter, striking out five and walking one.
Parr led off the game with a home run to left, her fourth of the season, and Whitney Byrom doubled in Brunner following DenDekker’s only walk for a 2-0 Pirate lead. Gilbert (9-5) also threw the second game for Whitworth, but was not nearly as invincible, as she gave up more hits to the first three Bruin batters than she did in all of the first game.
Milton singled to center, Trindle bunted for a hit, and Chavez singled up the middle to score Milton and get the Bruins going. Bethany Chriss hit a sacrifice fly to right to tie the game, and Kerrianne Davidson lined her third home run of the season to straightaway center to give the Bruins a 4-2 lead.
Whitworth tied it in the 2nd. Makenzie Hope got a one-out infield hit, and Hanna Boyd got all the way to third when her sacrifice bunt to third was thrown down the right-field line, with Hope scoring. Parr’s sacrifice fly to center scored Boyd.
The Bruins got the tie-breaking and final run of the game in the last of the 2nd when Trindle doubled to center and Chriss singled up the middle to drive her in. The Bruins left a runner on in every inning after that and eight runners in all, but DenDekker made that one-run lead stand up the rest of the way.
Gilbert went the distance for the Pirates, allowing eight hits with one strikeout and three walks. Trindle was the only player with a two-hit game.
Both games were played in snappy fashion; the first took only 1:16 and the second a mere 1:21, for a little more than two-and-a-half hours of playing time.
NEXT: The Bruins and the Pirates conclude the regular season Sunday with a doubleheader starting at 12:00 noon.