McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Whitworth University capped its regular season by pulling out a couple of suspended softball games on Wednesday evening at Linfield College. The Pirates held on to defeat Linfield 5-4 in eight innings and broke away from George Fox for a 13-9 victory in 11 innings.
Whitworth now heads into this week's Northwest Conference tournament with a 29-9 overall record, 23-5 in the NWC. The Pirates are the second-seed behind Linfield and will take on Pacific (Ore.) in the first round of the tournament on Friday.
Whitworth 5, Linfield 4 (8 innings)
In a game that began on April 7th, Whitworth pulled out the victory on a Maddy Thomas home run after the Wildcats rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh.
The Pirates led 4-2 heading to the bottom of the sixth inning at the time the game was suspended by rain. Whitworth had scored two in the third and two in the fifth to back the solid pitching of Madelyn Carlson.
Drea Schwaier-Wolf came in to pitch for Whitworth as the game resumed and she retired Linfield in order in the sixth. The Wildcats rallied with two outs to tie the game on Darian Stedman's two-run double to center. The game might have ended in the seventh had not Kinsey McNaught tracked down Makenna Clizer's hard drive to center field at the wall.
Thomas led off the eighth inning with her 11th home run of the season. The shot to center field stood up when Schwaier-Wolf retired the Wildcats in the bottom of the seventh.
Schwaier-Wolf improved to 17-3 with the win in relief. Tanna Benson (14-2) took the loss in relief for Linfield.
Whitworth 13, George Fox 9 (11 innings)
The Pirates sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the 11th inning during a five-run rally that broke open what had been an 8-8 tie when the game was suspended by darkness in Newberg, Oregon on March 3rd with the teams heading to the 10th inning.
Whitworth had led 8-4 in the seventh inning before the Bruins rallied with four runs in the bottom of the inning to force extra frames. Thomas had homered twice in the game to help the Pirates take the lead.
After a scoreless tenth inning, Whitworth took control with five runs in the top of the 11th. The Pirates loaded the bases with no outs and Sara Gayer took advantage with a two-run single up the middle. Morgan Portlock followed with an RBI single. Pinch-hitter Delayna Waite drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning. Lowery, who led off the inning by reaching base, capped the scoring with an RBI infield hit.
GFU loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 11th against Carlson, who had shut the Bruins down in the 10th. Schaier-Wolf came on in relief and gave up a single to Aaliyah Kautz that drove in a run. But she got Allisa Yabumoto to hit into a double play and struck out Tanner Higgins to end the game.
Carlson earned her 11th win of the season despite giving up eight earned runs over the course of the entire game. McNaught and Michelle Silva had three hits each to lead the Pirates at the plate.