by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – Kaylee Rosenbaum tossed 3.1 innings of one-run relief and Kelsey Downey drove in three runs to earn the Whitworth Pirates a Northwest Conference softball split with the 25th-ranked Linfield Wildcats on Friday afternoon.
The split moves the Pirates record to 17-11 overall and 10-6 in NWC play, while Linfield is now 23-7 and 15-3.
Game 1: # 25 Linfield 6, Whitworth 1
Shelby Saylors held the Pirates scoreless until the sixth inning and Linfield forced Madelyn Carlson to work on every pitch to give the Wildcats a win in the opener.
Linfield led from the outset of the game after Emily Allen knocked a single up the middle with runners on first and second to give the the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. They nearly scored another run when Makenna Clizer singled up the middle, but Kinsey McNaught gunned down Melanie Oord at the plate to end the inning.
The Wildcats tacked on another four runs in the following innings on RBIs from Jacinda Swiger, Cheyenne Fletcher, Allen, and Jessica Woodruff to extend the lead to 6-0 after five frames.
Whitworth put its lone run on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning. Michelle Silva singled down the left field line and advanced to third on a throwing error. The junior scored when Sara Gayer grounded out to shortstop.
Saylors (10-5) earned the win, allowing 5 hits and 1 run in a complete game. Carlson (12-5) was hit with the loss after she gave up 6 runs on 12 hits.
Game 2: Whitworth 10, #25 Linfield 5
Rosenbaum earned her first collegiate win in the same game her teammates handed Wildcat starter Eliza Rossman her first collegiate loss as the Bucs won the nightcap to pick up a split.
Rosenbaum entered after the third inning and tossed 3.1 innings of excellent relief, allowing just 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks. Rossman gave up 7 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks during her four innings in the circle.
At the plate, the Bucs struck first. With runners on first and second, Silva singled to center field and Kaylie Lowery motored around to score, sneaking in just in front of Allen's tag to give Whitworth a 1-0 lead.
After going down one, Linfield used a four-run third inning to go up 4-1. Oord's line drive to left field just escaped Lowery's glove to drive in a pair, and Darian Stedman hit a two-run home run as well.
Whitworth responded with a four-run fourth to re-take the lead at 5-4. Downey started the rally with a two-run home run. Down 0-2 after two pitches, Downey battled to even the count and crushed a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left-center to cut the Wildcat lead to one. Then, with runners on second and third, Natalie Edlin scored on a wild pitch and Brynn Radke came around on an error to give the Pirates the lead.
Whitworth built on its advantage in the following frame. Silva led off the inning with a home run to make the lead 6-4. Then, Gayer doubled off the middle of left field wall to put another runner in scoring position. Maria Smith, Gayer's pinch-runner, scored when the Wildcats misplayed a bunt to put the Bucs up three.
Emily Allen homered in the top of the sixth inning to cut the lead to two, but Rosenbaum bounced back by getting three straight Wildcats to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
After seeing the lead cut to two runs, the Pirates went back to work on offense. Silva doubled home McNaught, Gayer drove in Silva, and Downey knocked in Gayer to push the score line out to 10-5. The insurance runs were more than enough for Rosenbaum and Ashley Trueblood, who closed the door on Linfield in the seventh inning to secure a victory.
Looking Ahead: The Bucs and Wilcats finish their series Sunday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.