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WHITWORTH 6-1, GEORGE FOX 0-3: Bruins, Pirates Split on Final Day of Regular Season
NEWBERG, Ore. – Kerrianne Davidson slugged a three-run homer to back the three-hit pitching of Allyssa DenDekker, giving the George Fox University Bruins a 3-1 second-game win and a split in their regular season-ending Northwest Conference softball doubleheader with the Whitworth University Pirates Sunday afternoon here at Morse Field.
Taylor Gilbert hurled a four-hit shutout and Sacha Clow drilled a two-run homer in a four-run rally as the Pirates took the opener 6-0.
George Fox finishes the regular season at 20-20 overall and fourth in the conference standings at 15-13, but will continue on in the NWC Tournament for the first time next Saturday and Sunday. Whitworth’s season ends with an 18-20 overall record and fifth place in the conference at 12-16.
Game 1 - Whitworth 6, at George Fox 0
Gilbert (10-5) struck out one and walked one in the opener and was only in serious trouble once. Jenny Milton led off the bottom of the 1st with a triple to right for the Bruins, but was stranded there as Gilbert got a comebacker to the mound, a sharp ground out to first, and after hitting Bethany Chriss with a pitch and surrendering a steal of second, retired Davidson on a fly to right. The Bruins only got one other runner as far as second the rest of the way.
The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the 1st against Erin Hento (7-7). Sami Parr led off the game with a single to center, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on Jamie Brunner’s one-out single up the middle. Brunner swiped second and scored on Clow’s ground single to left.
Whitworth put the game away with four in the 5th. Hanna Boyd was hit by a pitch, stole second, and scored on a double by Brunner. Julia Johnson doubled in Brunner, and pinch runner Whitney Byrom scored ahead of Clow’s fourth round-tripper of the season to left.
Hento struck out six and walked one in five-plus innings, but was touched for nine hits and all six Pirate runs. Taylor Whitmore went the final two frames, allowing no hits with a strikeout and two walks.
Brunner, Clow, and Natalie Evers had two hits each for the Pirates, while Milton had two hits for the Bruins.
Game 2 - at George Fox 3, Whitworth 1
DenDekker (7-6), who defeated the Pirates 5-4 Saturday while retiring the last 16 batters in a row, set down five more to start Sunday’s second game before finally issuing a walk to Ashley Grieg. The only run she allowed was unearned in the 4th as Brunner beat out an infield hit to second and advanced on a wild throw to first, moved to third on a passed ball, and scored as Johnson grounded out to second. The Bruins’ hurler fanned three and walked only one in going the distance.
Gilbert (10-6), who started all four games in the series for the Pirates, allowed only one hit through the first three innings before the Bruins got to her in the 4th. With one out, Felicia Chavez singled to center and Chriss singled to right. Davidson then lined her team-leading fourth home run to left for the game-winning blow. Riley Fritz relieved Gilbert in the 5th and struck out all five hitters she faced, but the damage had been done as DenDekker retired nine of the last 10 Pirates to bat in the final three innings.
Davidson had two hits for the Bruins and Brunner had two of the Pirates’ three hits.
NEXT: George Fox will meet NWC champion and No. 1-ranked Linfield College (35-3, NWC 25-3) in the first round of the double-elimination NWC Tournament Saturday in McMinnville, Ore. The other pairing matches second-place Pacific Lutheran University (34-10, NWC 24-4) and third-place Willamette University (20-13, NWC 19-9). Game times are to be announced. The winner of the NWC Tournament receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament.