SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University softball team will wrap up the 2019 regular season when the Pirates host Pacific University (Ore.) in a four-game Northwest Conference series this weekend at Diana Marks Field. The teams will play doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, beginning at noon each day.
Watch the Pirates' softball schedule for live links to this weekend's games.
The Pirates: Whitworth is 23-9 overall and 17-5 in the NWC after taking three of four games against Lewis & Clark College last weekend. Weather forced the series to spread out over three days.
Whitworth won Saturday's game 12-8, hitting four home runs. Maddy Thomas homered twice, while Kaylie Lowery and Brynn Radke each had an inside-the-park home run. Thomas finished with three hits and three RBIs. Radke also had three hits. Drea Schwaier-Wolf threw four innings to improve to 12-3 and she survived an L&C grand slam. Rose Meshell threw three innings to pick up her first save.
Saturday's second game was postponed by rain with the Bucs leading 2-0 in the first inning.
Whitworth swept L&C in run-rule fashion twice on Sunday. In the conclusion of Saturday's game, the Pirates pulled away for a 10-2 victory in five innings by scoring five runs in the fourth. Radke had another 3-for-3 game and drove in three runs. Rheanne Lewis also had three RBIs. Madelyn Carlson got the pitching victory after allowing two runs on five hits in five innings.
Whitworth took Sunday's second game 9-1 in six innings. The Pirates used a five-run second inning for an early 6-1 lead. After giving up a run in the first, Schwaier-Wolf shut down L&C the rest of the way to improve to 13-3. Lowery, Lewis and Thomas all drove in a pair of runs apiece.
Whitworth bats went cold in Monday's 3-1 loss. Lewis went 2-3 and her triple led to the Pirates' only run in the third inning. A throwing error in the top of the third inning allowed L&C to post a two-run rally, which proved to be the difference. Carslon gave up only two earned runs on five hits in four innings, but suffered the loss. Schwaier-Wolf threw three perfect innings of relief.
The Opponents: Pacific University (23-12, 17-7 NWC) is right behind Whitworth, third in the NWC standings. The Boxers won the opener of last week's series against league-leading Linfield, but then dropped the next three games. Pacific bats .348 (2nd in the NWC) and has a 4.02 team ERA (3rd in the NWC). Sophomore UT Montana Vaught provides the pop in the offense. She hits .413 with 10 home runs (2nd in NWC), 13 doubles (2nd in NWC), 40 RBIs (2nd in NWC) and 41 runs scored (tied for first). Sophomore OF Nicole Martinez hits .421, has scored 38 runs and leads the league with 21 stolen bases. Junior pitcher Morgan Masters is Pacific's staff leader with a 6-4 record, a 3.63 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 73.1 innings pitched.
Last season Pacific took three of four games from Whitworth in the final regular season series in Forest Grove, Oregon.
Two to Finish: Whitworth still has two unfinished games and there is no final decision about when they will be completed. The series finale at George Fox was suspended by darkness with the teams tied 8-8 heading to the 10th inning in Newberg, Oregon. The series finale at Linfield was suspended with the Pirates leading 4-2 heading to the bottom of the sixth.
Excelling in All Areas: Whitworth ranks at, or near, the top of the NWC statistics in all three key areas of the game. The Pirates lead the league in team earned run average (2.62) and in opponents' batting average (.233). Offensively Whitworth is third in team slugging average (.517), third in batting average (.341) and second in the NWC in stolen bases (80). Finally, the Bucs are tied for the lead in 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 (2.62). Schwaier-Wolf leads the NWC in ERA (2.32), ranks second in wins (13) and third in strikeouts (53). Carlson is second in the NWC in ERA (2.44), ranks fifth in wins (9) and fifth in strikeouts (49).
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.
Slammin' Silva: Michelle Silva is closing out one of the best careers in school history. The two-time first team honoree has a .358 career average as a Pirate. She has driven in 121 runs in 160 games with 38 doubles, nine triples and 19 home runs. Her career slugging average is .597.
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.