Mar 06, 2016

Howard, Hylton Shine as Bruins Split with Pirates

A Winning Tradition

 
  • 1 NCAA Regional Tournament (2016)
  • 1 NAIA Regional Tournament (1994)
  • 1 NAIA District Championship (1994)
  • 1 Cascade Conference Championship (1994)
  • 4 Northwest Conference Tournament (2012, 2015, 2016, 2017)
  • 1 NAIA District Coach of the Year
  • 3 Northwest Conference Coaches of the Year
  • (NFCA) Division III National Pitcher of the Week (Abbie Bergerson, 2015)
  • 2 NFCA All-West Region Second Team 
 

By: Ryan Lackey

SPOKANE, Wash. --- After yesterday's doubleheader, low-scoring and tense, the Bruins's two-game matchup with Whitworth on Sunday was open, and the bats were awake—at least in the first game. Courtney Howard, who's enjoying a nice run of form, and Kat Hylton sparked the Bruins, who just managed to hold off Whitworth's last-ditch efforts in game one to take an 8-7 win. In the second, Makayla Lefever had another stellar outing, holding the Bruins to a 5-0 loss.

Recap:

Game One
Runs were to be had on both sides in the first game. Whitworth came out and immediately tagged starter Abbie Bergerson for two runs on Tessa Matthew's two-RBI double.

But in the Bruins's half of the second, Whitworth starter Madi Perez fared no better. After Amanda Woods socked a single, Howard bellowed a triple to center, scoring Woods. Hylton then did Howard one better; Hylton's two-run homer put the Bruins up, 3-2.

The Pirates tied things in the next half-inning, but the Bruins regained their lead in the third. Again, it was Hylton and Howard: after Kayla Anderson and Woods reached base, Howard singled to put all three runners on for Hylton. And Hylton's sharp single scored Anderson, and the score was 4-3, Bruins.

After extending their lead to 7-3 two unearned runs and an RBI groundout, the Bruins let Whitworth sneak back into the game. Matthews came up big again for Whitworth, blasting a two-run homer to narrow the score to 7-5.

Amanda Woods's sacrifice fly gave the Bruins back one run, but two more for the Pirates in the bottom of the sixth on Chelsey Hayes's double closed the scoreline to 8-7, and Whitworth were primed to send the game into extra innings.

But Madison Sorensen, who relieved Bergerson, did well to shut down the Pirates over the last two innings, and the 8-7 final went for the Bruins.

Game Two
The Pirates's ace, Makayla Lefever dazzled the Bruins in the second game, holding them to just three hits in her complete-game shutout. Alyssa Harris, starting for the Bruins, had a fine outing, but she couldn't quite match Lefever.

The Pirates got to Harris in the second, scoring two on Megan John's double and an error. They added another in the fifth, and two more in the sixth, when Michelle Silva knocked a two-run homer. The Bruins never managed more than one runner on base in any single inning. The Pirates took the 5-0 victory.

Top Performers:

Game One
Although not in peak form, Bergerson and Sorensen—who took the win and the save, respectively—combined to hold Whitworth's considerable offense in check. Offensively, Howard was 3-4 with a run, and RBI, and that long triple. Hylton was 2-3 with three RBIs and a run, plus her homer.

Game Two
Julia Apodaca, Alex Parker, and Ashley Bunce all picked up hits.

What It Means:
With the split, the Bruins are at 7-5 overall and an even 4-4 in conference.

What Comes Next:
Next weekend, the Bruins host Pacific Lutheran for a four-game set.