Wildcats Softball Take Sole Possession of First Place - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcats Softball Take Sole Possession of First Place

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ELLENSBURG, Wash - Central Washington University junior Liz Wallace (Florence, Mont./Florence-Carlton HS) was a perfect six for six at the plate offensively, driving in five runs, to help lead the Wildcats to a 4-2, 8-0 doubleheader sweep of visiting Northwest Nazarene University in Great Northwest Athletic Conference action on Saturday.

With the wins, Central moves into sole possession of first place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings with a 9-3 league record. The Wildcats, who are now 14-18 overall, are now one full game ahead of second-place Western Washington, which is 5-1 in conference play. Northwest Nazarene fell to 5-29 overall and 1-11 in GNAC action with Saturday's defeats.

Wallace, who entered Saturday's twinbill batting just .213 on the season, raised her season average by 59 points with her six hits. She was three for three in each game, driving in the game-winning run with a fifth-inning single in game one and then capping the afternoon with a walk-off double that cleared the bases and gave the Wildcats the eight-run mercy-rule victory in the nightcap.

The opener was a nail-biter throughout despite a strong pitching performance from junior Linse Vlahovich (Spokane Valley, Wash./University HS) and sophomore Katriina Reime (Hoquiam, Wash.). That duo combined to surrender just two hits, but Vlahovich left the game after four innings facing a 2-2 tie score. Northwest Nazarene's Vanessa Shaw had a solo home run down the left-field line in the second inning to account for the Crusaders' only hit against the right-hander. NNU also scored once in the third after a walk, sacrifice bunt, stolen base and ensuing throwing error on the attempted steal attempt that, at the time, tied the score at 2-2.

Central Washington picked up a single run each in the first and second inning, scoring its first run on an infield error and its second on a two-out infield single by Kasey Druffel (Colton, Wash.). The Wildcats then won the game with a two-run fifth inning, sparked by Wallace's RBI single and a two-out double-steal play on which Logan Mohr (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge HS) scored after Wallace was tagged out between first and second in a rundown.

Central finished with a 10-2 hit advantage in game one, led by three hits each from Druffel and Wallace. Senior Mallory Holtman (White Salmon, Wash./Columbia HS) had a pair of doubles, while Ashley Fix (Puyallup, Wash.) also had a two-hit game as that foursome accounted for all of the Wildcats' hits.

In game two, Wallace's three-run double capped a four-run fifth inning as Central scored seven of its eight runs in the final two frames. The Wildcats and Crusaders were again closely matched early, with Central holding a 1-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings as Wallace's infield single in the bottom of the second inning scored Mohr. The score remained a one-run contest until a three-run fourth in which the Wildcats pieced together four hits. Fix and junior Tarn Potter (Charlo, Mont./St. Ignatius HS) both had RBI singles in the inning, while CWU also scored a run on a throwing error.

A hit batter and fly out started the fifth before three consecutive singles by Holly Rossman (Olympia, Wash./Black Hills HS), Mohr, and sophomore Cami Halstead (Lake Stevens, Wash.) loaded the bases for Wallace. She then took the first pitch she saw from NNU pitcher Dana Shipley and sent it to the right-center field gap to end the game.

The Wildcats finished with 11 hits in game two, although their first three hitters were a combined 0 for 8. Wallace had another three-hit outing with the aforementioned four RBI, while Fix, Mohr, and Rossman had two hits apiece. Vlahovich went four innings in the contest, striking out seven and earning the victory (8-10).

Northwest Nazarene finished with three hits in the finale, including two from leadoff hitter Jael Henthorn.

Central Washington continues its four-game home stand with a doubleheader this coming Thursday (Apr. 10) against Montana State Billings. The twinbill, originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. (PDT) start, is likely to be moved to an 11 a.m. (PDT) start to accommodate the visiting Yellowjackets' travel plans.