Wildcat Softball Uses Late-Inning Rallies to Sweep Western Wash - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcat Softball Uses Late-Inning Rallies to Sweep Western Washington

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By CWU Athletics

ELLENSBURG, Wash. (Mar. 20) -- The Central Washington University softball team scored 10 of its 14 runs in the sixth innings of Tuesday's doubleheader, as the Wildcats twice rallied late to sweep visiting Western Washington University, 4-3 and 10-2, at Gary & Bobbi Frederick Field.

The Wildcats improved to 8-10 overall and 7-6 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, while the Vikings fell to 3-17 overall and 1-9 in the conference.

Central Washington rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the sixth inning of game one, scoring three runs in the bottom of the frame to steal the one-run victory. In the decisive sixth, senior Bre Thomas (Vancouver, Wash./Columbia River HS) led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a sacrifice, and then scored when senior Carrina Wagner (Tacoma, Wash./Spanaway Lake HS) reached on a dropped fly ball. Junior Elena Carter (Olympia, Wash./Black Hills HS) then doubled to plate Wagner and tie the game. Then, after freshman pinch-runner Shelby Yasuda (Woodinville, Wash.) advanced to third on an illegal pitch, senior Liz Jusko (Snohomish, Wash.) brought home Yasuda with a groundout to give CWU the 4-3 lead.

Sophomore pitcher Maria Gau (Woodinville, Wash.) walked the first hitter she faced in the seventh inning, but after that runner went from first to third base on a sacrifice bunt, Gau induced consecutive groundouts to preserve the victory.

Western Washington scored the game's first two runs, with single tallies in the third and fourth innings. Jessica Carey had a RBI single in the third, and Krista Bickar drove in the Vikings' fourth-inning run on a RBI single of her own. CWU scored its first run in the bottom of the fourth as Carter powered a home run down the left-field line into a stiff wind to make it a 2-1 count. WWU tacked on a run in the top of the sixth on Meghan Carrillo's run-scoring groundout, an unearned run that was aided by Central Washington's lone error of the game.

Offensively, neither team mustered much at the plate, as the two teams combined for just eight hits. Gau threw a complete-game three-hitter, striking out four and walking three, while Western Washington's Jenna DeRosier (1-7) allowed five hits and just two earned runs while fanning three. Carter was the lone player in the game with multiple hits, going 2 for 3.

The second game appeared to be a low-scoring affair as well, as each team scored a pair of runs in the early innings. Western Washington went ahead 2-0 in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Stephanie Fox and a fielding error by the CWU infield. The Wildcats then matched the score in the bottom of the third after a RBI single by Wagner and an ensuing bases-loaded walk to Carter.

Each team went to its bullpen early, though, as the Wildcats summoned Gau (5-5) in the second inning and WWU replaced starter Janelle Kasch with Fox in the third inning. The score remained deadlocked until the bottom of the fifth inning, when CWU senior Molly Coppinger (Belfair, Wash./North Mason HS) led off with a solo home run to left field, and the Wildcats had chances to tack onto the score after putting its next two runners on the corners with nobody out, but a strikeout and a double play halted the threat.

That threat resumed in the bottom of the sixth inning, though, as Central Washington sent 10 hitters to the plate without an out being recorded as the game ended due to the eight-run mercy rule. Junior Cassi Ellis (East Wenatchee, Wash./Eastmont HS) began and ended the inning with run-scoring hits, leading off with a home run just inside the foul pole down the left-field line and then delivering a RBI bloop single with the bases loaded. Sophomore Jordan Zurfluh (Adna, Wash.), Thomas, Coppinger, and Carter also drove in runs with hits in the inning, while sophomore Jordan Scherer (Centralia, Wash.) was hit by a pitch with the bases-loaded to set up the game-ending situation for Ellis.

The Wildcats finished game two with 13 total hits, eight of which came in the bottom of the sixth inning. The top four hitters in the lineup -- Thomas, Coppinger, Wagner, and Carter -- combined to go 7 for 12 with six runs scored and six RBI in game two. Ellis added the first three-hit game of her CWU career, going 3 for 4 with two RBI.

Gau earned her second win of the day, pitching 4 1/3 innings of relief and striking out five while scattering four hits.

Central Washington will hit the road for six games in a three-day span this coming weekend, visiting Simon Fraser University for a four-game series on Saturday (Mar. 24) and Sunday (Mar. 25), before a doubleheader at Western Washington on Monday (Mar. 26).

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