By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
POWAY, Calif. -- The Willamette University Bearcats earned a total of 30 hits on their way to sweeping a doubleheader against Saint Katherine College (Calif.), 12-0 and 11-2, on Monday, March 21. Victoria Bradshaw (Sr., OF, Discovery Bay, CA/Liberty HS) smacked a grand slam home run in the third inning of the first game to give Willamette a 5-0 lead. The Bearcats won both games on the run rule in six innings.
Willamette, which competes in NCAA Division III, improved to 9-1 on the season. St. Katherine, a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), fell to 3-18.
Reanna Lancaster (Fr., LHP, Los Altos, CA/Mountain View HS) pitched the first four innings of the opener and moved her record to 3-0 on the season. In the second game, Makayla Hari (Jr., RHP, Salem, OR/Blanchet Catholic HS) threw the first four innings and upped her record to 2-0. Jade Smith (Jr., RHP, Chico, CA/Chico HS) pitched two innings of relief in each game and did not allow a run.
Grand Slam Leads Willamette to Rout in Opener
The Bearcats took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the first game. With two outs, Ashley Pender (Sr., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valleys HS) tripled to right field. Pender scored on a single by Bradshaw.
Willamette kept its slim lead until Bradshaw's grand slam in the top of the third.
Alexia Pratt (Jr., CF, Roseville, CA/Woodcreek HS) started the inning by reaching first base on a bunt single. Kathryn Moore (So., 3B, Reno, NV/Robert McQueen HS) was hit by a pitch, sending Pratt to second. One out later, Pender received a walk. Bradshaw batted next and sent the ball over the fence in right field.
WU tacked on two runs in the fourth inning for a 7-0 lead. Steffany Dunn (Jr., SS, Colfax, CA/Colfax HS) singled to start the inning and went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pratt. Moore drove in Dunn with a double to right center. Kaylin Bullert (Fr., 3B, Red Bluff, CA/Enterprise HS) pinch-ran for Moore later in the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly by Pender.
Five additional runs for the Bearcats in the fifth inning completed the scoring. Willamette earned five hits during the stanza.
Pratt walked and stole second to set up the first run. She scored on a single to left field by Bullert. Danielle Saunders (So., LF, Salem, OR/McNary HS) singled up the middle, before Bullert scored from third on a double steal.
Pender and Bradshaw each contributed an RBI single to keep the offensive surge going. Promise Burnett (Fr., C, Oakland, CA/Bishop O'Dowd HS) drove in the final run with a triple to left field.
Lancaster struck out two batters and allowed just one hit and one walk in four innings as the starting pitcher. Smith limited the Firebirds to one hit and one walk over the final two innings.
Bradshaw was 3 for 4 with two runs and six RBIs for the Bearcats, who compiled 16 hits during the game. Pender finished 2 for 2, scored two runs and provided two RBIs. Moore went 2 for 2 with a run and an RBI. Lancaster was 2 for 3, while Kathryn Hammitt (So., LF, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) went 2 for 4.
Angela Ackerman recorded both hits for St. Katherine. She was 2 for 2 overall.
Shields Earns Three Hits in Second Game
In the second game, Alex Shields (Jr., C, Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS) led Willamette by going 3 for 4 with two runs and an RBI. She pounded out two doubles. Dunn was 2 for 3 with a triple, two runs and an RBI. Pender went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Each team plated one run in the first inning, but WU moved in front 4-1 with three runs in the second stanza.
With two outs, Dunn singled to left field. Pratt added another single to left, and then Saunders belted an RBI single to right. Shields, who doubled and scored in the first inning, followed Saunders with a single in the second. Pratt scored, and Saunders also scored when the right fielder committed an error.
The Firebirds cut the deficit to 4-2 with a run in the bottom of the third. Laura Nelson hit a double to right field with two outs. She scored on a single to left field by Danielle Rothery.
St. Katherine was held scoreless the rest of the game. Willamette produced two runs in the fifth inning and five runs in the sixth to pull away.
Shields hit her second double to open the fifth inning and scored with one out on a single by Bradshaw. An error in the outfield allowed Bradshaw to advance to second and third. Bradshaw scored on a groundout by Elaine Norcia (So., 1B, Santa Ynez, CA/Santa Ynez Valley HS).
The five-run outburst by the Bearcats in the sixth inning featured six hits, including a leadoff double by Darian Gibson (Fr., RF, Newport Beach, CA/Calvary HS), which was followed by an RBI triple from Dunn. Moore drove in Dunn with a bunt single toward third. Later in the inning, Pender connected for an RBI single and Hammitt provided a two-RBI single.
St. Katherine earned five hits in the game. Rothery was 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs. Three other players earned one hit apiece.
For WU, Hari allowed five hits and two runs in her four innings in the circle. Smith held St. Katherine scoreless in the fifth and sixth innings, while recording two strikeouts. Nelson was the losing pitcher for the Firebirds in both games. She pitched the first four innings of the opener and all six innings in the second game.
Up Next for Willamette
The Bearcats will play a single game at Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) on Tuesday, March 22 at 4:30 p.m. (PDT). It will be the final game of Willamette's five-game Spring Break trip to California.