SALEM, Ore. – The Whitworth University softball team used a seventh inning rally to open the Northwest Conference slate with two wins at Willamette University on Saturday. The Pirates trailed 3-1 going into the seventh inning of the second game, but plated eight runs to pull off the comeback win.
The Pirates improve to 9-3 on the season, with a 2-0 mark in the NWC. The Bearcats fall to 1-3 overall, with a 0-2 NWC mark.
Senior Caylan Haehl finished the day 5-8 at the plate and scored four runs for Whitworth.
Game 1 – Whitworth 5, Willamette 2
After two scoreless innings, Whitworth put the first run on the board in the top of the third. The Pirates had two outs in the inning when senior Julia Johnson singled to right field and Caylan Haehl scored on a throwing error. The Bearcats pulled the score even in the bottom of the fourth on a Whitworth fielding error.
The Pirates added two more runs in the top of the fifth as a sacrifice fly from Johnson allowed sophomore Brittany Connor to score and junior Peyton McMahon’s single to left field drove home Haehl. Willamette made it a 3-2 ball game in the bottom of the sixth, but McMahon’s double in the top of the seventh scored Haehl, and a wild pitch allowed McMahon to give Whitworth the final run of the day.
Caylan Haehl went 3-4 at the plate with three runs scored. Julia Johnson and Peyton McMahon each had two runs batted in.
Freshman Madi Perez (4-1) earned the win, giving up four hits with three walks and two strikeouts in a complete game. Victoria Bradshaw (0-1) took the loss, allowing seven hits with two earned runs and five strikeouts in seven innings.
Game 2 – Whitworth 9, Willamette 3
Willamette used a run in the bottom of the first, third and fourth innings to lead the Pirates 3-0 in the top of the fifth inning. Senior Makenzie Hope walked in the fifth and used a Caylan Haehl single and a Bearcat throwing error to move into scoring position. Hope scored Whitworth’s first run on an illegal pitch to make it a 3-1 game.
Trailing 3-1 going into the seventh inning, the Pirates went to work in their final turn at the plate. Back-to-back fielding errors put runners on first and second for junior Taylor Gilbert. Gilbert singled through the left side to score sophomore Megan John. With the bases loaded, freshman Kayla Batastini reached on a fielder’s choice, allowing Peyton McMahon to score. Gilbert scored when freshman Tessa Matthews was walked with the bases loaded, giving Whitworth a 4-3 lead.
Junior Riley Fritz singled through the left side, sending both Batastini and sophomore Bailey Kasler home. Willamette’s third fielding error of the inning allowed Matthews to score in the next at-bat. Julia Johnson’s single to right field allowed both Haehl and Fritz to score. The Pirates tallied five hits for three runs in the seventh inning to claim the 9-3 win.
Caylan Haehl was 2-4 at the plate. Riley Fritz and Julia Johnson each had two RBI and nine different Pirates scored in the game.
Riley Fritz (2-0) earned the win, allowing two walks and no hits in two innings pitched. Hayley Glantz (0-2) takes the loss, giving up two hits with one strikeout in an inning in the circle.
Whitworth faces Willamette in a doubleheader on Sunday, beginning at 12:00 p.m.