by Brandon Loiler, Sports Information Assistant
HERMISTON, Ore. - The Whitworth softball team hit three home runs on the day, including a grand slam from Michelle Silva to take both games against Northwest Conference opponent Willamette (6-2, 6-2) on Saturday in the two of four games at Hermiston High School.
Game One: Whitworth 6 , Willamette 2
Through the first three innings, Willamette left six runners stranded and only recorded one hit.
The Bearcats ended the shutout in the top of the fifth when a Kea Gier double to left center scored Mallory Asaro and Promise Burnett to go up 2-1. With a single to center field and two bunts to load the bases, the Pirates responded quickly in the bottom of the inning when Silva hit a grand slam to left field scoring Shannon Wessel, Ramirez, and Rheanne Lewis for four more RBIs to go up 5-2.
In the sixth inning, Ramirez sacrificed to right field scoring Maria Smith to grow Whitworth's lead to 6-2. To seal the win, Madi Perez struck out batters one and two, and Asaro was the third out for the Bearcats, popping up to second base for a Whitworth win.
Silva led the Pirates at 2-3 with five RBIs, a run, and a grand slam. Perez went 1-1 with a walk and Ramirez and Wessel each finished 1-2 and combined for three runs. Miki Takara went 1-1 with two walks for Willamette.
Perez pitched all seven for Whitworth and recorded six strikeouts, giving up only four hits and four walks. She improves to 7-0 on the season. For the Bearcats, Jade Smith gets the loss after coming in with one down the second inning. She gave up six hits and five runs while striking out two batters.
Game Two: Whitworth 6, Willamette 2
In the top of the first with two down, Asaro and Payton Reynolds found their way to second and third on an Asaro double, but were left stranded. In the bottom of the second, a Bearcat double play sent Logan Miller and Ramirez back to the dugout, but Wessel stepped up and singled on the next at bat. Silva got the Pirates on the board with a bunt that turned into an error by Willamette pitcher M Hari, scoring Wessel unearned to go up 1-0.
In the second inning, Perez sent a solo home run to deep center for her first home run of the season, giving the Pirates a 2-0 cushion.
A walk on the first at bat of the third inning put Miki Takara on first and Alex Shields singled to right field on the next at bat to put two on. Back-to-back walks for the next two batters gave Willamette its first score of the game. Unexpected rain delayed the game at 2-1, retiring the bottom of the third inning with two outs.
Steffany Dunn got the action going again in the top of the fourth with a single up the middle for Willamette. Groundouts by Alexia Pratt and Takara put Dunn on third and Darian Gibson singled on the next at bat, scoring Dunn to tie the game at 2-2.
Willamette got on base with a single by Asaro on the first at bat of the fifth, but Gier lined into a double play and Burnett popped up to second base to retire the inning. Ramirez stepped up for the Pirates after McNaught grounded out and singled. Miller followed that up with a double, putting two runners in scoring position for Wessel who stepped up and singled to right field, scoring Miller and Ramirez for a 4-2 Whitworth lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Tessa Matthews singled and advanced to second on a sacrifice from Perez. With two outs, Natalie Edlin came in to pinch hit for catcher Allie Rude and launched a two RBI bomb to right center field. McNaught singled with a bunt on the next at bat and advanced to second on a passed ball by Bearcat pitcher Morgan Penn, but Penn responded, striking out Ramirez swinging to retire the inning.
Ashley Trueblood pitched six innings for Whitworth and gave up 10 hits while striking out 11 batters, moving to 1-1 on the season.
Next Up: The Pirates will return to action tomorrow for the back end of the two day double-header against Willamette starting at 12 p.m. at Hermiston High School.