Wildcats Extend GNAC Lead to Two Games - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcats Extend GNAC Lead to Two Games

Posted: Updated:

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (May 2) -- Senior Kelsey Haupert (Olympia, Wash./Black Hills HS) set a Great Northwest Athletic Conference record by hitting safely in 10 consecutive at-bats, and the Central Washington University softball team twice overcame rallies to sweep three games from visiting Simon Fraser University on Monday at Gary & Bobbi Frederick Field. The Wildcats won the completion of last Monday's suspended game, 10-9, before winning the scheduled doubleheader by scores of 6-4 and 11-3.

The Wildcats, who have now won 20 of their last 22 games, extended their lead in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings to two full games over Western Washington with four to play. CWU is 30-13 overall and 24-7 in GNAC action. Simon Fraser completed its regular season with a 12-23 overall mark and 12-19 in GNAC games.

Haupert, who hit safely in her final two at-bats of Sunday's doubleheader against Saint Martin's, broke the CWU single-game school record with five hits in as many at-bats in Monday's first game, which was resumed after rain halted play last week. She then went 3 for 3 with three RBI in the first game of the scheduled twinbill before seeing the streak end in the first at-bat of Monday's finale. The previous GNAC record of nine consecutive hits had been set twice previously, while the school's previous record of four hits in a game had been accomplished 21 times.

Central had to come from behind twice during the suspended game. The Wildcats encumbered a 5-2 deficit in the third inning when play resumed, but they took a 6-5 lead in the fourth thanks to run-scoring doubles by Haupert and Keilani Cruz (Tacoma, Wash./Curtis HS; two-run double). After a rain delay of an hour and six minutes in the top of the sixth, Simon Fraser regained the lead at 9-6 on a bases-clearing double by Brittany Mayers, as two Wildcat errors had opened the door for the Clan to extend the inning. All four runs in the inning -- and seven of the nine scored in the game -- were unearned against CWU senior pitcher Lauren Hadenfeld (Vancouver, Wash./Evergreen HS) as the Wildcats committed a season-high seven errors.

The Wildcats' second rally came in the bottom of the sixth, as they scored three times on five hits to tie the game. RBI hits by junior Liz Jusko (Snohomish, Wash.), sophomore Carrina Wagner (Tacoma, Wash./Spanaway Lake HS), and sophomore Elena Carter (Olympia, Wash./Black Hills HS) enabled Central to tie the game at 9-9, and the Wildcats won the game in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out RBI single from Wagner.

Central Washington had a 19-8 hits advantage in the game, led by the five hits from Haupert, a career-high four from Wagner, three from senior Samantha Petrich (Chehalis, Wash./W.F. West HS), and two from Carter. Four of the Wildcats' hits in the game were doubles.

In the next contest, CWU again twice overcame a deficit, using three-run innings in the fourth and fifth frames to defeat Simon Fraser, 6-4.

The Wildcats fell behind 2-0 after 3 1/2 innings before taking a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth. Haupert and Jusko had run-scoring hits to tie the game, and the go-ahead run came home on a bases-loaded fielder's choice off the bat of junior Molly Coppinger (Belfair, Wash./North Mason HS).

Simon Fraser took the lead in the top of the fifth, however, on a two-run home run by Leah Riske. That lead was short-lived for the Clan, however, as Haupert had a go-ahead two-run double and Cruz followed with a run-scoring single that concluded the game's scoring.

The Wildcats outhit SFU, 10-9, as Haupert and Petrich combined for five hits and three runs scored. Petrich's two hits were both for extra bases -- a double and a triple -- while Carter, who was 2 for 3, also had a double.

Hadenfeld picked up another pitching victory to improve to 22-8 on the season and to tie the school's career wins record at 46 (46-14 over two seasons). Freshman Maria Gau (Woodinville, Wash.) pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief to earn her second collegiate save.

In the series finale, all nine Wildcat starters had at least one hit, and CWU scored five runs in the second and four more in the fourth to cruise to the eight-run victory.

The bottom third of the Central order -- Wagner, Carter, and Coppinger -- all homered against a pair of Simon Fraser pitchers. Meanwhile, Gau (6-5) took a three-hit shutout into the fifth inning before Kelsey Haberl launched a three-run home run for the final 11-3 margin.

Carter and Coppinger both homered during the five-run second, while Haupert added a two-run double in the inning. In the fourth, Cruz had the big hit for the Wildcats, plating a pair of runs with a one-out double, while junior pinch-hitter Natasha Wood (Graham, Wash./Graham-Kapowsin HS) also drove in a run with a single.

Central Washington will continue its extended home stand to end the regular season, hosting Western Oregon on Thursday (May 5) at 1 p.m. The Wildcats will then take on second-place Western Washington on Saturday (May 7) at noon.