By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University and Pacific University played a very competitive doubleheader on Saturday, April 16 at the WU Softball Field, as the Boxers edged the Bearcats 4-3 and 11-6, with both games ending in eight innings. The wins propelled Pacific's record to 23-14-1 on the season, 15-11 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette ended the day at 14-17 overall, 10-16 in the NWC.
Ashley Pender (Sr., 2B, Reno, NV/North Valleys HS) of Willamette, who entered the doubleheader as the Bearcats' career leader with 115 RBIs, set one school record and tied two others on Saturday.
Pender moved into first place with 258 total bases in her career, breaking the mark set by Nikki Franchi ('09), who is now an assistant coach at Pacific. One base is awarded for a single, two for a double, etc. Pender tied the school records for career hits (165) and career at bats (454). She also advanced her RBI record to 116 in the opener with a run-scoring triple.
Boxers Triumph in First Game, 4-3
In the first game, Pacific scored three runs in the top of the sixth for a 3-0 lead. Quirena Natividad hit a leadoff triple to left center. Rachel Roberts added an RBI double. A bit later, Roberts scored from third on a short bunt by Trisha Snydar, as the Beacats just missed recording the out at the plate. The third run was scored by Kaitlynn Donaca when Haley Kodama reached first on a fielding error at second base.
The Bearcats answered with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the score. Reanna Lancaster (Fr., DP/LHP, Los Altos, CA/Mountain View HS) walked. One out later, Pender sent an RBI triple to right center. Alex Shields (Jr., C, Lake Forest, CA/El Toro HS) was hit by a pitch and stole second base. Mallory Asaro (Jr., SS, Rocklin, CA/Rocklin HS) drove in both runners with a double to right field.
WU earned two hits in the seventh inning, but did not score and left two runners on base.
The Boxers moved in front, 4-3, in the top of the eighth when Roberts singled up the middle and later scored on a throwing error following a sacrifice bunt by Donaca. Pitcher Marissa Reichard, who threw all eight innings for Pacific, faced just three batters in the bottom of the eighth to secure the win.
Pender was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI for the Bearcats. For Pacific, Emily Tesdale was 2 for 3, while Roberts finished 2 of 4 with two runs and an RBI. Reichard improved to 16-6 with the pitching victory. Jade Smith struck out three batters and allowed no walks, but fell to 5-11 for Willamette. Seven of Smith's losses have been in one-run games.
Five Runs in 8th Send Pacific to 11-6 Win
Willamette led 5-1 in the second game after plating four runs in the bottom of the third. Danielle Saunders (So., LF, Salem, OR/McNary HS) and Pender walked before Shields blasted a two-run double to left field. Shields advanced to third on the throw home, and then scored on a double to right by Asaro.
After Promise Burnett (Fr., C, Oakland, CA/Bishop O'Dowd HS) walked, Kathryn Moore (So., 3B, Reno, NV/Robert McQueen HS) hit a single down the left field line to drive in Asaro with no outs. One out later, Dunn walked to load the bases. Dunn was picked off at first, and Gibson flied out to end the inning.
The Boxers pulled within 5-4 with two runs in the fourth and one run in the fifth. Ashley Mitchell smacked a solo home run to start the fourth stanza. Natividad doubled and later scored when Kylee Yamamoto reached base on an error in center field. In the fifth, Roberts hit a solo homer down the rigth field line.
WU took a 6-4 lead when Carrie Fox (So., OF, Dupont, WA/Steilacoom HS) walked with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth to bring in Asaro from third.
Pacific tallied two runs in the sixth to tie the game. Yamamoto singled and Megan Winans doubled to start the inning. Yamamoto scored on a squeeze bunt by Tesdale. Winans reached home on a single by Roberts.
The Boxers took the lead and pulled away with five runs on five hits and one error in the top of the eighth. Natividad drove in the go-ahead run on a single through the left side with runners at first and third and two outs. Snydar tacked on a two-run double for a 9-6 lead. Snydar scored on an error in right, and Tesdale drove in the final run with a single.
Asaro was 3 for 4 at the plate for Willamette. Shields went 2 for 4 with a run and two RBIs. Pender was 1 for 3 with two walks and two runs scored. Pender tied the WU career hits record at 165 with a single in the sixth.
Pender and fellow senior Victoria Bradshaw (Sr., OF, Discovery Bay, CA/Liberty HS) were honored by the Bearcats prior to the game.
The Bearcats and the Boxers will play a doubleheader on Sunday, April 16, on Pacific's home field in Forest Grove, Oregon. First pitch is slated for 12 p.m. (PDT).