by Whitworth Univ. Athletics
McMINNVILLE, Ore. – The Whitworth softball team's season ended with a 9-3 loss to Pacific Lutheran University in the Northwest Conference Tournament at Del Smith Stadium on Sunday.
Whitworth pushed the first run across when freshman Alyssa Martinez singled to right field and freshman Megan John scored to make it 1-0 in the top of the second. Whitworth added to its run total in the top of the third when John returned the favor, singling down the left field line and sending junior Caylan Haehl and senior Heather Hesselgesser. Whitworth led 3-0 in the middle of the third inning.
Pacific Lutheran's third inning saw the Lutes get six hits, including Lindsey Matsunaga's grand slam that gave PLU its first lead of the day. The Lutes scored seven runs in the inning and pushed another across in the fourth and sixth innings. Whitworth trailed 9-3 and was down to its final three outs of the season going into the top of the seventh.
With two outs, sophomore pinch hitter Peyton McMahon stepped in the batter's box and hit a double down the left field line, giving Whitworth a runner in scoring position. Senior Jamie Brunner came up behind her with a double of her own that scored McMahon and pulled Whitworth within five, 9-4. In her final at-bat of her career, Hesslegesser grounded out to the shortstop and the Pirates' season came to an end.
Leah Butters (9-3) earned the win in the circle, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits in seven innings. Sophomore Riley Fritz (14-7) took the loss, giving up three earned runs on six hits to 14 batters.
At the plate, Megan John went 3-for-3 with two RBI to lead the Pirates.
Whitworth ended the season with a 23-20 record, while PLU (27-16) advances to face Linfield in the NWC Championship game.