Softball Hosts DePauw Sunday in Home Openers

Photo courtesy Puget Sound Sports Information
Photo courtesy Puget Sound Sports Information

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University softball team will be home at last when the Pirates host DePauw University in a non-conference doubleheader on Sunday afternoon, beginning at 1:00 pm.  A scheduled doubleheader at NCAA DII Central Washington on Friday is cancelled due to unplayable conditions at the Wildcats' field.

Watch the Pirates' softball schedule for live links to this weekend's games.

Show Me the Way to Go Home:  Whitworth has yet to play a home game during the 2019 season because of the heavy snows that hit eastern Washington in February and March.  A home series with George Fox scheduled for March 2-3 was moved to Newberg, Oregon.  Last weekend's series with Puget Sound was played in Tacoma.  In all, the Bucs have played their first 20 games of the 2019 season away from Diana Marks Field.

Whitworth's first home games are on March 24th when the Pirates host DePauw University.

The Pirates: Whitworth is 16-3 overall and 11-0 in the NWC after winning all four games at Puget Sound last weekend.

The first game at Puget Sound was the closest of the series.  The Pirates built a 5-0 lead in the first inning, but needed only one hit in the rally.  Whitworth led 6-0 before the Loggers scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh off the Bucs' bullpen.  Rheanne Lewis drove in two of the Pirates' runs.

Maddy Thomas and Brynn Radke hit home runs in the second game and the Pirates pulled away late for an 8-0 victory.  Whitworth scored four runs in the top of the seventh to break open the contest.  Lewis added two more RBIs to give her four on the day.

Sara Gayer homered and drove in four runs, while Kaylie Lowery went 3-3 with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored to lead the Bucs to a 10-0, five-inning victory in Sunday's first game.  Madelyn Carlson threw a two-hit shutout to improve to 7-2 this season.

Whitworth continued its surge in the series finale, winning 15-0.  Michelle Silva homered, tripled and drove in five runs, while Gayer and Lowery added three more RBIs each.  Drea Schwaier-Wolf threw four shutout innings and improved to 9-1 this season.

Time Off With Good Behavior:  Eleven victories in Whitworth's 15-game winning streak have come by the NCAA run rule.  The Pirates have been ahead by at least eight runs by the end of the fifth or sixth inning, invoking the NCAA's mercy rule.

Not Quite a Streak, Yet:  Whitworth has won 15 games in a row, but it is not officially a winning streak yet.  The series finale at George Fox on March 3rd is officially suspended in the tenth inning with an 8-8 tie.  That game may be completed, or end in a tie.  The Pirates won seven in a row before that game, and have won eight straight games since that game. 

The Opponents:  DePauw University, from Greencastle, Indiana, is an NCAA Division III school and a member of the North Coast Athletics Conference.  The Tigers went 23-22 overall last season, but came on strong at the end to finish 13-3 in the NCAC, win the league tournament and advance to the NCAA DIII regionals.  DePauw is 6-2 this season after winning four games last weekend in St. Louis against Wartburg (Iowa) and Washington Univ. (Mo.).  DePauw is hitting .367 as a team and has posted a 4.15 team ERA.  Junior Jordyn Fera was a first team All-Conference honoree last season, while sophomore Becca St. Germain earned second team All-NCIC in 2018.  However, a trio of freshmen are making the biggest impact so far this spring.  Kate Geary is hitting .565 with three doubles, while Jade Mejia Wick is batting .571.  Cami Henry is 3-2 with a 4.72 ERA and has thrown half of the team's innings-pitched.

Whitworth and DePauw have never played in softball.  The Tigers are touring the Northwest for spring break.  Following the doubleheader in Spokane, DePauw has games at PLU (March 26), Linfield (March 27) and George Fox (March 28).

NWC Leaders:  Whitworth's pitching pair of Drea Schwaier-Wolf and Madelyn Carlson are a big reason the Pirates lead the league in team ERA (1.89).  Schwaier-Wolf leads the NWC in wins (9), ranks second in ERA (1.61) and second in strikeouts (40).  Carlson is third in wins (7), third in ERA (1.69) and fifth in strikeouts (28).

Slammin' Silva:  Michelle Silva is closing out one of the best careers in school history.  The two-time first team honoree has a .362 career average as a Pirate.  She has driven in 115 runs in 147 games with 35 doubles, nine triples and 18 home runs.  Her career slugging average is .608.

The Coach: Cristal Brown is in her eighth season leading the Whitworth softball team.  She has posted a record of 190-113 through her first seven years with three NWC titles to her credit (2015, 2016, 2017).  Brown has coached 30 players to All-Northwest Conference recognition.