By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Breianna Mcleod (Fr., SS/UT, Kailua Kona, HI/West Hawaii Explorations Acad.) smacked her first career home run for the Bearcats in the second game of a doubleheader against Whitworth University on Tuesday, April 17, but the Pirates won both games on the run rule in five innings, 13-5 and 10-2. In the second game, Mcleod's home run tied the score at 1-1 in the second inning, and the Bearcats wee tied at 2-2 entering the fifth inning. Whitworth pulled away in the bottom of the fifth. In the first game, the Pirates scored seven runs in the second inning to take a 7-2 lead.
Mcleod was 3 for 5 during the doubleheader with her homer, plus two doubles, two runs and three RBIs.
Whitworth upped its record to 24-16, 17-11 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette slipped to 5-28 overall, 5-21 in the NWC. The Bearcats will conclude the year with a doubleheader at University of Puget Sound on Saturday, April 21 starting at 12 p.m. (PDT).
Two Innings Provide the Difference for Whitworth in Opener
Whitworth used its seven-run second inning, plus four runs in the fourth stanza to keep the first game from being a battle from start to finish. Willamette took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second, but couldn't keep pace once the Pirates experienced success in the bottom of the inning.
Kea Gier (So., 3B, Kaneohe, HI/Iolani School) started the second inning for the Bearcats by hitting an infield single toward second. Mcleod followed with a double, sending Gier to third. Olivia Scott (So., C, San Francisco, CA/Lowell HS) hit a foul ball far enough past the infield that the right fielder made the catch, allowing Gier to score on a sacrifice fly. Kaitlyn Wells (Fr., UT, Happy Valley, OR/Clackamas HS) double do left to drive in Mcleod.
In the bottom of the second, the Pirates registered six hits, including five singles. The only extra-base hit was a three-run double to left center by Sara Gayer that sent home the final three runs of the stanza.
Willamette cut the deficit to three runs, 7-4, after scoring twice in the top of the third. With two outs, Vanessa Almaraz (So., OF, Simi Valley, CA/Simi Valley HS) singled and went to second on a passed ball. Gier walked and then both runners stole a base. Mcleod belted her second double of the game to allow Almaraz and Gier to cross the plate.
The Pirates added a run in the bottom of the third, before increasing their lead to 12-4 in the fourth inning. Three singles loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, before Kelsey Downey blasted a grand slam home run. Each team scored once in the fifth inning. Gier singled and eventually plated a run for the Bearcats on a single by Scott. Desi Graham hit a leadoff triple for Whitworth and scored on a triple by Michelle Silva with two outs to end the game on the eight-run rule.
Downey was 2 of 4 for Whitworth with two runs and four RBIs. Natalie Edlin was 3 for 3 with a run and an RBI. For Willamette, Mcleod went 2 for 3 with a run and two RBIs. Gier was 2 for 2 with a walk and three runs. Wells and Danielle Koontz (Fr., 2B, Cupertino, CA/Monta Vista HS) each went 2 for 3. Whitworth pitcher Madelyn Carlson improved to 16-7.
Pirates Break Tie with Eight Runs in Fifth Inning
A pitchers' duel that was tied 2-2 after four innings turned into a big win for Whitworth after the Pirates exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning of the second game. The Pirates held a slim 5-4 edge in total hits entering their fifth at bat. Whitworth recorded nine hits during the decisive stanza.
The Pirates earned the game's opening run in the bottom of the first. Kaylie Lowery and Kinsey McNaught produced back-to-back singles, with Lowery advancing to third on McNaught's hit. Lowery scored on a ground out by Gayer. Willamette tied the score on Mcleod's first collegiate homer with two outs in the top of the second.
Willamette grabbed a 2-1 lead in the third when Emily Bishop (Jr., OF, Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma HS/Pierce College) singled to left center with one out and scored on a triple to right field by Koontz. Whitworth tied things up in the bottom of the fourth. Downey walked to open the stanza and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Morgan Portlock. Downey headed to third and scored on a throwing error at the end of the play.
The first runs of the successful fifth inning for Whitworth were scored on a two-RBI single by Gayer. Later in the inning, Edlin hit a two-run homer.
Lowery was 4 for 4 at the plate with two runs score for the Pirates. McNaught, Edlin and Allie Rude each went 2 for 3. The Bearcats received one hit each from Mcleod, Bishop, Koontz and Kaitlin Manker (Fr., INF, Vancouver, WA/Union HS).