by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – Sara Gayer went 6-8 with 3 RBIs and 4 runs to lead the Whitworth Pirates in their sweep of the Pacific Lutheran Lutes in a Northwest Conference softball doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.
The sweep continued a four-game winning streak for Whitworth, leaving its record at 12-8 overall and 5-3 in the Northwest Conference. PLU dropped to 8-12 overall and 3-7 in NWC play.
Game 1: Whitworth 7, Pacific Lutheran 1
The Pirates scored runs in all six innings in which they received at-bats to pick up a game one victory.
Six Bucs picked up RBIs in the win and four Pirates had a multi-hit game.
Gayer opened the scoring in the first inning, singling in Chelsey Hayes to give the Bucs a one-run lead. Whitworth tacked on another run in the following inning when Downey scored on an error, and added a third run in three frames on Michelle Silva's double.
Whitworth looked to have a chance to break the game open in the fourth inning. The Bucs loaded the bases with one out and scored a run on Chelsey Hayes' single, but a pair of pop outs ended the inning with only one more run on the board.
The string of one-run innings continued in the fifth when Allie Rude hit a solo home run to left-center field, extending the lead to 5-0.
The Bucs ended the string in the sixth inning when Downey knocked in Silva and Gayer with a single to center field, adding another set of insurance runs to Whitworth's lead.
All of the scoring was more than enough for Madelyn Carlson. The freshman tossed a complete game, allowing just an unearned run on five hits.
Game 2: Whitworth 8, Pacific Lutheran 7
Maria Smith took a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Bucs a Saurday sweep.
Gayer drove in the first run of the second game as well. With runners on first and third, Gayer drove in Kaylie Lowery to give Whitworth a one-run lead. Silva followed with a sacrifice fly, which scored Hayes and extended the advantage to two runs. The Bucs nearly scored a third run, but Gayer was caught trying to steal home on a first-and-third play with two outs, ending the frame.
The Lutes bounced right back in the top of the third inning. With runners on second and third, Kennedy Robilland hit a two-run double to tie the game. Carlson escaped the inning with a lineout and strikeout to keep the game knotted at two.
Pacific Lutheran piled on four more runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead. Anna Overland opened the rally with an RBI single, but the Bucs escaped the inning after Elise Freund was caught trying to advance on a throw.
After barely sneaking out of the top of the fifth, Whitworth's offense responded in the bottom of the frame. Hayes started scoring by driving in Kinsey McNaught with a triple to right-center field. Gayer followed by singling home Hayes, cutting the Lute lead to two. Whitworth tied the game when Rude reached on an error by the Lute first baseman and Silva came all the way around from second to knot the game at 6. Downey crossed home on a wild pitch to give Whitworth a 7-6 lead.
The score line held until the top of the seventh inning when Corina Jones hit a game-tying home run. The Lutes nearly re-took the lead, but Ashley Trueblood induced a pop-out to set the Bucs up for their walk-off win.
Looking Ahead: The Pirates and Lutes return to Diana Marks Field tomorrow afternoon to square off in a second doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. for the opener and 2:30 p.m. for the nightcap.