SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University softball team returned to Northwest Conference action in dramatic fashion, following a game of pitching with an offensive explosion to split Saturday’s Northwest Conference doubleheader against George Fox.
Whitworth improves to 20-8 overall, with a 12-4 NWC record. George Fox falls to 19-7 on the season, 8-6 in the NWC.
Game 1 – George Fox 1, Whitworth 0
In the opening game, the Pirates and the Bruins combined for four hits in a game that turned into quite a pitching duel. George Fox earned its first—and only—hit of the game in the top of the third, as Megan Furtado doubled down the left field line. Furtado scored an unearned run after a Pirate error loaded the bases for Courtney Howard, who was walked.
Senior Caylan Haehl singled in the third, but was caught stealing to end the inning and Whitworth’s scoring threat. The Pirates added another hit as freshman Shannon Wessel singled to left field in the fourth, but again, the Bruins ended the threat before Whitworth could put any runs on the scoreboard.
With one out in the top of the seventh, senior Julia Johnson hit a single to left field, but a fielder’s choice out and a strikeout ended the game with the Bruins claiming the 1-0 victory.
Erin Hento (9-4) earned the win in the circle, striking out a career high 10 batters, while allowing three hits and a walk in seven innings. Freshman Madi Perez (10-4) took the loss, allowing one hit with one strikeout and two walks to 27 batters in seven innings of work.
Game 2 – Whitworth 8, George Fox 6
The Pirates led off the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt from Shannon Wessel put runners on second and third for Julia Johnson. Johnson’s double to right field sent both runners home and gave the Pirates a 2-0 lead with one out. Junior Sacha Clow’s RBI single put the Pirates up 3-0 after the first.
Whitworth extended the lead in the bottom of the third, as junior Riley Fritz’s double to right field scored Julia Johnson and freshman Kelsey Stroshine’s single up the middle batted in the second run of the inning. In the bottom of the fourth, with two outs, Wessel and Johnson hit back-to-back singles and Clow walked to load the bases for Fritz. All three scored to make it an 8-0 game on Fritz’s double to left field.
George Fox did not go down without a fight, as the Bruins used RBI singles from Megan Furtado and Kayla Anderson to make it an 8-2 game with bases loaded and two outs. Amanda Woods hit her fifth home run of the season, a grand slam to center field, to pull the Bruins within two runs, but a Bruin groundout ended the inning. Neither team scored in the final two innings, giving Whitworth the 8-6 win.
Julia Johnson went 4-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Riley Fritz finished the game 2-3 at the plate with four runs batted in.
In the circle, Riley Fritz (3-0) earned the win, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks and a strikeout in four innings pitched. Allyssa DenDekker (6-3) took the loss, giving up five runs on seven hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2.1 innings.
Whitworth and George Fox will conclude the four game series with a pair of games on Sunday. The first pitch of game one is set for 12:00 p.m.