SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University softball team hits the road once again in 2019 as the Pirates travel to Tacoma, Washington this weekend to take on the University of Puget Sound. The series was originally scheduled for Whitworth's Marks Field, but heavy winter snows have left the facility unplayable at this point. The teams will play doubleheaders beginning at noon on Saturday and Sunday.
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. This weekend's series with Puget Sound will be played in Tacoma. In all, the Bucs will play their first 22 games of the 2019 season away from Diana Marks Field.
Whitworth is hoping to play its first home games on March 24th when the Pirates are scheduled to host DePauw University.
The Pirates: Whitworth is 12-3 overall and 7-0 in the NWC after winning all four games at Willamette last weekend.
The Pirates won the opener 5-2 when Madelyn Carlson outdueled Jocelyn Glasgo in a pitchers' duel. Both players went the distance in the circle. Carlson allowed two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and no walks. Kinsey McNaught and Morgan Portlock had two hits each, while Rheanne Lewis drove in a pair of runs.
Whitworth rolled to an 11-2 win in five innings in Saturday's second game. The Bucs broke open a 2-2 tie with four runs in the third and three more in the fourth. Maddy Thomas hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning and finished with four RBIs. Sara Gayer went 3-4 and drove in a pair of runs. Michelle Silva scored three times.
The Pirates poured runs across early and late in another 11-2 victory, this time in six innings, in Sunday's opener. Whitworth jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first, then scored two in the fifth and three in the sixth to invoke the NCAA's 8-run rule. Thomas capped the five-run, first inning rally with a two-run home run, her second of the weekend. McNaught added three more hits in the game.
Whitworth pulled out a 3-2 win in the series finale by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh on only one hit. A Thomas sacrifice fly was the winning run. Drea Schwaier-Wolf improved to 7-1 after allowing two runs on six hits in a complete game. She struck out eight and walked none.
Time Off With Good Behavior: Nine victories in Whitworth's 11-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.
The Opponents: Puget Sound is 2-15 overall and 0-8 in the Northwest Conference after Pacific (Ore.) swept the Loggers in Tacoma last weekend. Puget Sound is batting .262 as a team. Kelsie Sullivan, a freshman, leads the team at the plate and as a pitcher. She is batting .366 and has both pitching victories with a 5.64 ERA.
Whitworth won three of the four meetings against the Loggers in 2018.
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 (2.16). Schwaier-Wolf leads the NWC in wins (7), ranks second in strikeouts (34) and third in ERA (1.95). Carlson is third in wins (5), fifth in ERA (2.16) and fifth in strikeouts (20).
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 110 runs in 145 games with 35 doubles, eight triples and 17 home runs. Her career slugging average is .599.
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.