SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University softball team returns to Northwest Conference play this weekend, and for the rest of the regular season, beginning with a four game series at Pacific Lutheran University. The Pirates and Lutes will play doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday, beginning at noon each day.
Watch the Pirates' softball schedule for live links to this weekend's games.
Show Me the Way to Go Home: Because of the heavy snows that hit eastern Washington in February and March, Whitworth had to play its first 20 games away from Diana Marks Field. A series with George Fox (March 2-3) and a series with Puget Sound (March 16-17) were moved to the opponents' field. Whitworth's first home games were March 24th when the Pirates hosted DePauw University.
The Pirates: Whitworth is 17-4 overall and 11-0 in the NWC after splitting its final non-conference doubleheader of the regular season on Monday against DePauw University.
Whitworth could not make an early 2-0 lead hold up as the visitors rallied in the 4th and 5th innings for a 5-3 victory. Rheanne Lewis went 3-4 and drove in all three of the Pirates' runs. Madelyn Carlson held DePauw scoreless for three innings, but fell to 7-3 after giving up three runs on six hits in four innings pitched.
Whitworth bounced back to win the second game 3-2, despite getting only four hits. Drea Schwaier-Wolf improved to 10-1 with a complete-game victory. She scattered seven hits, struck out four and walked two.
The Opponents: Pacific Lutheran University (13-12 overall, 4-8 NWC) is also coming off a split with DePauw. The Lutes won Tuesday's first game 2-1, but the Tigers took the nightcap 4-2. Previously, PLU dropped three out of four games at Pacific (Ore.) on March 16-17 in a Northwest Conference series. The Lutes lead the Northwest Conference in runs scored (168) and in doubles (54). PLU's team batting average is .324. Senior 1B Kathryn Hatlen, a first team All-NWC honoree in 2018, leads the league in batting average (.475) and has 20 RBIs. Sophomore P/IF Kennedy Robillard, also a first team All-NWC honoree last spring, is 7-3 as a pitcher and hits .322 with 18 RBIs. Whitworth was able to win all four games during a home series against PLU last season.
Excelling in All Areas: Whitworth ranks at the top of the NWC statistics in all three key areas of the game. The Pirates lead the league in team earned run average (2.07) and in opponents batting . Offensively Whitworth is third in team batting average (.350) and leads the NWC in stolen bases (58). Finally, the Bucs lead the conference in team fielding percentage (.968).
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 (2.07). Schwaier-Wolf leads the NWC in wins (10), ranks first in ERA (1.65) and second in strikeouts (44). Carlson is tied for third in wins (7), second in ERA (1.97) and sixth in strikeouts (30).
Slammin' Silva: Michelle Silva is closing out one of the best careers in school history. The two-time first team honoree has a .360 career average as a Pirate. She has driven in 115 runs in 149 games with 36 doubles, nine triples and 18 home runs. Her career slugging average is .604.
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.