SALEM, Ore. – Bethany Chriss slugged a two-run home run to get the George Fox University Bruins off to an eventual 8-4 first-game upset of 16th-ranked Willamette University, but the Bearcats turned the tables for an 8-0 second-game win and a split of their Northwest Conference softball twinbill Saturday afternoon here at the WU softball field.
The Bruins pounded out 14 hits in the first game, with Chriss and Shelby Briske collecting three hits apiece and Nicole Renteria and Taylor Whitmore getting two each. Renteria singled ahead of Chriss’s fourth home run of the season as the Bruins jumped to a 2-0 lead in the 3rd inning. Briske singled, Kerrianne Davidson was hit by a pitch, and Whitmore doubled to score Briske later in the frame to make it 3-0.
Willamette climbed back within 3-2 with single runs in the 4th and 5th, Kelli Snyder singling in Bri Compton in the 4th and Nichole Robertson stroking her second home run of the season in the 5th. The Bruins responded by extending their lead to 7-2 with a four-spot in the 6th, Renteria hitting a two-run single and Briske and Davidson driving in runs with base hits as well. Briske singled to score Serena Lee with the Bruins’ final run in the 8th.
The Bearcats got single runs in the 6th and 7th innings but could not close the gap any further against the Bruins’ Erin Lee (7-7), who went the distance, spacing 11 hits while striking out two and walking one. Compton (9-1) suffered her first setback of the season, allowing seven hits and three runs in 3.0 innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Talissa Huntsman was touched for seven hits and five runs in 4.0 innings in relief, fanning five and walking three.
Jessica Barry had three hits and Compton and Robertson two each for the Bearcats in the opener.
In the nightcap, Alex Watilo (8-3) pitched a complete six-inning game for Willamette, allowing only singles by Chriss and Briske while striking out three and walking two. Whitmore (2-11) picked up the loss for the Bruins, working 5.2 innings and allowing seven hits and eight runs with four strikeouts and four walks.
Willamette struck for three runs in the 1st and never looked back in earning the split. The first run scored on a wild pitch, and Compton and Susie Krewer hit sacrifice flies for the other two runs. After scoring an unearned run in the 2nd, Compton hit her third home run leading off the 3rd. The Bearcats ended the game by scoring three in the 6th to induce the eight-run ‘mercy’ rule. One run scored on failed pickoff attempt at third, Compton singled in another, and the final run scored on a wild pitch.
Barry had three hits and Compton drove in three runs with two hits to lead the Bearcat offense.
George Fox (9-18, NWC 3-12) and Willamette (21-7, NWC 13-3) will play another doubleheader Sunday at 12:00 noon.