By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The Willamette University Bearcats broke a 4-4 tie with four runs in the top of the sixth inning and went on to defeat Occidental College (Calif.), 9-6, on Sunday, March 24 to split a softball doubleheader with the Tigers. In the opener, Occidental scored four runs in the first inning and one run in the second, before the Tigers held on for a 6-4 win.
Willamette ended the day with a 3-18 overall record. Occidental moved to 4-19 on the season.
Eight Bearcats each recorded one hit in the second game, including doubles by Kelsey Wong (Fr., UT, Honolulu, HI/Punahou School) and Jocelyn Glasgo (Jr., P, Rochester, WA/Tumwater HS). In the first game, five Willamette players earned one hit, while Cassie Cosler (Fr., 1B, Albany, OR/West Albany HS) went 2 for 3 at the plate. Cosler was 3 for 5 during the doubleheader with two walks and three RBIs.
Wong, Cosler, and Mickey Combine for 7 RBIs in Win
Willamette's 9-6 win in game two featured nine RBIs by the Bearcats. Wong led the way with three RBIs. Cosler and Mickey each drove in two runs in WU's four-run sixth inning.
The Bearcats bolted out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Emily Bishop (Sr., OF, Maple Valley, WA/Tahoma HS/Pierce College) reached first and second on an error at shortstop. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Breianna Mcleod (So., OF, Kailua Kona, HI/West Hawaii Explorations Acad.) and scored when Vanessa Almaraz (Jr., OF, Simi Valley, CA/Simi Valley HS) singled. After Almaraz stole second, Bailey Hillmick (So., DP/UT, Athena, OR/Weston-McEwen HS) singled. Hillmick stole second, before Wong belted a two-run double.
Occidental tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the first. Alexandra Olkein and Nyla Gatison singled to start the inning. A double-steal advanced the runners, but the next two batters grounded out without driving in a run. With two outs, Bailey Stevens smacked a three-run homer to left field.
For Willamette in the third, Mcleod was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Hillmick. WU led 4-3 until the Tigers tied the game in the fifth. With one out, Occidental had the bases loaded. A single by Drew Samson drove in Stephanie Stamnes from third bases. Back-to-back popups ended the threat, as Occidental left the bases loaded.
At the start of the sixth inning, Hillmick was hit by a pitch and Danielle Koontz (So., OF, Cupertino, CA/Monta Vista HS) pinch-ran. Wong hit a sacrifice bunt, and Gier singled up the middle. Each runner moved up a base, and then Cosler sent a two-run single up the middle. Jewel Fleckenstein (Fr., UT, Wasilla, AK/Mat-Su Middle College School) pinch-ran for Cosler. Glasgo hit a double to put runners at second and third, before Mickey provided a two-run single up the middle.
Alamaraz reached first on an error by the shortstop to start the seventh inning. Later, Wong hit a sacrifice fly to left field to send home Almaraz with an insurance run for a 9-4 lead. The Tigers scored twice in the bottom of the seventh. Romero doubled and eventually scored on a single by Kira Elliott. Samson recorded the second run when Natalie Glover reached base on an error with two outs, but the Tigers left the bases loaded when Cora Roberts grounded out.
Hillmick, who pitched the first 4 1/3 innings for Willamette, improved to 2-2 on the season. Morgan Penn (Jr., P/1B, Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS) pitched the final 2 2/3 innings.
Tigers Score Early, Hold On for Victory in First Game
Occidental's four runs in the first inning of the opener gave the Tigers a lead and forced the Bearcats to battle uphill throughout the game. The Tigers scored the four runs on two singles, four walks, a passed ball and a wild pitch. One run scored on a wild pitch, one scored on a bases-loaded walk issued to Madison Romero, one scored when Skylar Wuelfing hit into a fielders's choice, and one scored on a single by Samson.
After Roberts hit an RBI single in the second inning, the Tigers held a 5-0 lead.
Willamette cut the deficit to 5-2 in the fifth inning, while taking advantage of a leadoff single by Bishop, plus two walks and a hit batter. Bishop scored when Hillmick received a bases-loaded walk. Almaraz drove in the second run with a sacrifice fly.
The Tigers used a solo homer by Roberts in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-2 lead. WU put up one run in the sixth and one run in the seventh, but couldn't overcome the early deficit. The Bearcats entered the seventh trailing 6-3, but a walk and two hits loaded the bases with one out. Cosler walked to force in Hillmick with a run, but the Bearcats left the bases loaded following a strikeout and a fly out.
Delaney Russell, now 3-7, survived the final three innings to earn a complete game win in the circle for Occidental. She allowed seven hits and four runs, while recording six strikeouts and six walks. Penn, who pitched the final five innings for Willamette, was credited with two runs allowed and gave up three hits. She had one strikeout and one walk. Roberts led the Tigers by going 2 of 3 with a homer and two RBIs.
Up Next for Willamette
The Bearcats are slated to play two games at University of Redlands on Tuesday, March 26. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. (PDT) in Redlands, California.
Big Moment of the Day for Willamette
Cassie Cosler earned the go-ahead hit with a two-run single in the
sixth inning of the second game. as Willamette took a 6-4 lead in
the 9-6 win. In the first game, she went 2 for 3 with two doubles
and an RBI. On the day, Cosler was 3 of 5 with three RBIs, two
doubles and two walks. She also earned 16 putouts while playing
first base, including 12 putouts in the second game.