by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Whitworth softball allowed a six-run comeback in a game one loss, but responded with a 10-0 mercy-rule victory to earn a split with the Occidental Tigers on Sunday afternoon.
The Pirates finish their season-opening road trip with a 3-3 record after splitting three doubleheaders. Occidental moved to 1-1.
Game 1: Occidental 6, Whitworth 5
After being shut out for six innings on Sunday afternoon, the Occidental offense came to life in the bottom of the seventh inning to secure a 6-5 comeback victory.
Alexis Funaki did most of the damage for the Tigers. The junior third baseman doubled to start the seventh and drove in the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly to end it. Natalie Glover and Mackensie Priley also provided key RBIs in the rally.
Whitworth led for the majority of the contest. Morgan Portlock gave the Bucs an early advantage in the second inning. With runners on first and second, Portlock singled, scoring Kelsey Downey and giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
They built on their lead in the fourth. A pair of singles from Downey and Sara Gayer opened the inning, and a groundout from Allie Rude advanced the runners to second and third. Portlock knocked in the first run of the inning on a fielder's choice, and Kinsey McNaught drove in the second with a single. Logan Miller followed McNaught with another single to center field, driving in both Portlock and McNaught.
The four-run fourth chased starting pitcher Dallas Boyce. Olivia Thayer (1-0) entered the game in relief and closed the door on Whitworth's offense, earning the win with three innings of scoreless relief.
Ashley Trueblood started for the Bucs and kept the Tiger offense in check. She tossed five shutout innings, and struck out as many batters (2) as she allowed on base. Madelyn Carlson (2-1) was hit with the loss.
Game 2: Whitworth 10, Occidental 0 (5 innings)
The Pirates made quick work of the Tigers in game two.
As with the first game, Whitworth took an early lead. This time, the Bucs scored an unearned run when Michelle Silva reached on a bases-loaded error in the first inning.
In the second inning, Whitworth built on that advantage with a bases-loaded double from Hayes. Gayer followed Hayes with a two-run home run, the freshman's first as a Buc. Allie Rude finished the rally by singling home Natalie Edlin, giving the Pirates a 7-0 lead heading into the bottom of the inning.
Whitworth's offensive outburst continued in the fourth. Portlock singled home Silva and Gayer to extend the lead to 9-0. Then, Rude knocked in Kaylie Lowery to give the Bucs the 10-0 margin they carried to the finish.
Carlson went the distance for Whitworth in the circle. The freshman gave up just two hits in five shutout innings, earning her third win of the young season. Madison Romero was hit with the loss for the Tigers.
Gayer finished 2-2 with a pair of RBIs and Portlock went 2-3, driving in a pair of runs as well. Bailey Stevens and Samantha Yee picked up the Tigers two hits.
The Pirates return to action Feb. 24-25 when they open Northwest Conference play at George Fox.