The Bearcats took on fifth-ranked Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) in a weekend series. WU played their first doubleheader last Saturday, April 6 and nearly came back from a five-run deficit but ultimately came up short, 11-10.
The first inning saw the Lutes gain a 3-0 advantage on two triples and a single. The Bearcats took the lead at the start of the second. First-years Cassie Cosler and Meghan Hook both made it to first base after their at-bat before senior Emily Bishop drove them both in with a triple. Bishop later scored when the ball was misplayed. At the bottom of the second, the Lutes scored three more runs to take a 7-4 lead. After scoring two more runs in the third and fourth inning, they led 9-4.
In the fifth inning, the Bearcats began a comeback. After junior Sofia Magnani hit a double, both junior Vanessa Almaraz and sophomore Danielle Koontz scored. The Bearcats batted through the lineup, allowing Magnani to step up to the plate and hit a single, which allowed first-year Jewel Fleckenstein to score, 9-7. The Lutes added two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Willamette scored two more runs at the top of the sixth by junior Jocelyn Glasgo and first-year Payten Healy. First-year Kilani Fierstos scored a run in the seventh to make the score 11-10, but the Bearcats couldn’t score again.
In the second game on Saturday, the Bearcats were held to four hits, one of which was a triple by Hook. Willamette scored three runs, but PLU used a four-run first inning to jump ahead. The Lutes tacked on an additional four runs to sustain their lead for the second win of the series, 8-3.
Willamette played two shoot-outs that consisted of double-digit scoring in both games on Sunday. In the first game, the Lutes scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Glasgo countered in the top of the second with a three-run home run which brought in Bishop and Cosler, tying the game at 3-3. The Lutes took a large lead in the third inning after scoring five runs, including a two-run homer by Samantha Simundson. The Bearcats responded to this outburst with two runs in the fourth, one by Almaraz and one by Glasgo. Simundson hit another two-run homer in the fourth, while two other PLU players scored to bring their lead to 13-6. At the top of the fifth, Fleckenstein scored after Bishop grounded to third base. Glasgo and Mickey added runs to make the score 13-9. Both teams added another run before the Lutes won, 14-10.
In the second game, the Bearcats gained a tremendous amount of momentum in the top of the second inning, but allowed PLU right back into the game in the bottom of the second. Both Healy and Almaraz smacked home runs, with Healy’s solo homer coming in the first and Almaraz’s solo in the second. Almaraz’s homer initiated an eight-run inning thaled to a 9-0 lead. This included two scores by Cosler and runs by Glasgo, Bishop, first-year Kelsey Wong and junior Kealaulaikalani Gier. WU’s lead was short-lived as the Lutes came right back in the bottom of the second to close the margin to 9-7. Bishop and Glasgo scored runs in the fourth inning, making the score 11-7, but the Bearcats couldn’t keep their momentum, allowing the Lutes to score five times, ultimately losing 12-11.
WU fell to 3-28 overall and 2-18 in the NWC. Next up for the Bearcats is a pair of doubleheaders next weekend against the University of Puget Sound on Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14 in Salem, OR.