Smith and Lancaster Combine for 6-Hitter in 4-2 Win, as Bearcats Split with L&C

Jade Smith (Sr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS)
Jade Smith (Sr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Jade Smith (Sr., P, Chico, CA/Chico HS) and Reanna Lancaster (So., P, Los Altos, CA/Mountain View HS) combined on a six-hitter in the circle to lead Willamette University to a 4-2 win over Lewis & Clark College in the first game of a Northwest Conference doubleheader on Sunday, April 2. Smith threw six innings, while allowing five hits and two runs. Lancaster preserved the victory by facing just four batters in the bottom of the seventh.

Lewis & Clark won the second game, 7-6. The Bearcats trailed 4-1 after four innings, but rallied with five runs in the top of the sixth -- including a grand slam home run by Taiana Creekmur (Fr., C, Honolulu, HI/St. Francis HS) -- for a 6-4 lead. The Pioneers countered with three runs in the seventh inning to earn the win.

The teams split the four-game NWC series. Willamette concluded the weekend at 11-11 on the season, 9-7 in the NWC. L&C went to 5-20 overall, 5-16 in the NWC.

In the first game, Mallory Asaro (Sr., SS, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS) was 2 for 2 with a run scored an two RBIs for the Bearcats. Miki Takara (Fr., 2B, Pearl City, HI/Maryknoll HS) also went 2 for 2 and scored once. Alexia Pratt (Sr., CF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) registered one run, while Steffany Dunn (Sr., RF, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) provided one RBI.

Asaro added a 3-for-4 performance in the second game with one run and one RBI. Creekmur was 2 for 2 with her grand slam, one run and four RBIs. Alex Shields (Sr., C, Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS) went 2 for 4 with a run scored. For L&C in the second game, Zoe Juarez was 2 for 4 and scored three runs.

Bearcat Build 4-0 Lead in First Game, Hold Off Pioneers, 4-2

Willamette put two runs on the scoreboard in the first inning of the opener. Takara batted first and hit a single to left center. Two outs later, with Takara at second base, Asaro singled up the middle. Takara scored on the play and Asaro went to second on the throw home.

Asaro advanced to third on a wild pitch, and then Darian Gibson (So., LF, Newport Beach, CA/Calvary HS)  walked. Asaro scored on a double-steal before Gibson was thrown out on a lengthy run-down.

In the top of the third, Pratt recorded a leadoff infield single. She went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Takara. Dunn pounded a double into left center to score Pratt. Later in the inning, Shields walked and went on to score when Asaro singled to center.

The Pioneers plated one run in the fourth and added one run in the fifth, but couldn't catch the Bearcats. Lisa Kumasaka tripled down the right field line to open the fourth stanza. She scored on a sacrifice fly by Lindsay Yearman. Tiana Rosario singled in the fifth inning and eventually scored on a two-out single by Juarez.

Katelyn Duilio also singled in the fifth inning, but the Pioneers left two runners on base when Kumasaka grounded out to second base.

Each team registered six hits during the game. Dunn's double and Kumasaka's triple were the only extra-base hits.

Both Teams Rally in Second Game, before L&C Grabs 7-6 Win

The lead changed hands three times in the second game, with Lewis & Clark gaining the final lead in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 7-6 victory.

Willamette claimed a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Dunn walked with one out. After stealing second, she went to third on a single by Shields. When Yearman misplayed the ball in the right field, Dunn scored.

In the bottom of the first, Yearman and Jenai Rojo crossed home plate for L&C. Yearman scored on a single by Emily Drevdah. Rojo, who began the play at first base, came home on an error at third base at the end of the play

The Pioneers added one run in the second inning for a 3-1 lead and increased the margin to 4-1 with a run in the fourth frame.

After L&C left three runners on base in the bottom of the fifth, the Bearcats exploded for five runs in the sixth.

Shields began the inning with a single up the middle. She stole second base. Asaro followed with an RBI triple to rigth center. Gibson walked and stole second. With one out, Payton Reynolds (Fr., UT, Reno, NV/Reno HS) also walked to load the bases. Creekmur blasted a grand slam homer over the fence in left center. Two ground outs ended the inning, but Willamette held a 6-4 advantage.

There were two outs in the bottom of the seventh before three hits and two errors led to three unearned runs for the Pioneers. Stephanie Garcia and Duilio earned RBI singles. Duilio's single down the left field line with runners at first and second, allowed Juarez to score the winning run.

Kaili Akimseu of L&C pitched all seven innings and improved to 2-7. She allowed seven hits and six runs (five earned). WU used six pitchers during the game. Jocelyn Glasgo (Fr., P/OF, Rochester, WA/Tumwater HS), who threw the final 1 2/3 innings, did not allow an earned run, but fell to 1-1 with the loss.

Up Next for the Bearcats

Willamette will host Linfield College in a make-up doubleheader on Wednesday, April 5 at the WU Softball Field. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. (PDT). The twinbill was originally scheduled for March 4, but it was postponed due to the weather.