WWU finishes second in GNAC standings after split at Saint Martin's

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Aspen Ison
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Aspen Ison
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

April 27, 2014

Box Score - Game 1

Box Score - Game 2

LACEY, Wash. - Western Washington University ended its regular season by splitting a softball doubleheader with defending league champion Saint Martin's University, losing the opener 6-5 in eight innings and winning the nightcap 5-4, to clinch sole possession of second place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference standings Sunday at SMU Field.

The Vikings, who had a six-game winning streak snapped in the first game, are 30-12 overall and finished 17-7 in GNAC play. That earned them the No.2 seed at the GNAC Tournament which will be played on May 1-3 at Richland. The winner of the double-elimination tourney earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Division II West Regional.

Saint Martin's, 26-20, finished 15-9 in GNAC play and is the No.4 seed, with conference champion Western Oregon No.1 (18-6, 30-20) and Central Washington No.3 (16-8, 27-16).

WWU took a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning of the nightcap when Autumn Isaacson (Jr., Lake Stevens) singled, stole her 30th base of the season, went to third on a throwing error, and scored on a single by Kaleigh Keating (Sr., Salinas, CA/Notre Dame Salinas).

Aspen Ison (Fr., Gig Harbor/Peninsula), 7-3, pitched the complete-game victory, ending the game on a strikeout with the tying run on third.

Haylee Baker (Sr., Poulsbo/Bainbridge) got the Vikings off to a 2-0 lead in the first with her eighth home run of the year. The Saints responded with two runs in their half of the inning.

WWU took a 4-2 lead by scoring runs in each of the next two innings. Isaacson had a sacrifice fly in the second and Alexie Levin (So., Everett) became the first Viking to reach double-figure homers in a season with her 10th in the third.

Saint Martin's again came back and tied the score at 4-4 with two unearned runs in the sixth.

In the opener, WWU trailed 4-3 after the Saints scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth.

The Vikings' Jordan Walley (So., Maple Valley/Tahoma) tied the game at 4-4, leading off the sixth with her third home run, and Emma Blauser (So., Federal Way/Todd Beamer) gave WWU a 5-4 lead with her seventh homer in the top of the eighth.

But Saint Martin's ended the contest with two runs in the bottom of that frame, one scoring on a wild pitch and the other on a fielder's choice.

Blauser, Isaacson, and Keating each had three hits as WWU had 15 in the game, but left 10 runners on base.

With two outs in the fifth, Isaacson doubled and scored on a triple by Keating, who came home on a single by Baker.

Western Oregon Wins GNAC Regular-Season Softball Title, Top Seed for Playoffs

GNAC Championships (May 1-3 at Columbia Playfield, Richland, Wash.): Thursday - #2 Western Washington (30-12) vs. #3 Central Washington (27-16), 4:30 p.m.; #1 Western Oregon (30-20) vs. #4 Saint Martin's (26-20), 7 p.m. Friday - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 2 p.m.; Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 4:30 p.m.; Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m. Saturday - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, noon; Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6, 2:30 p.m. (if necessary).

PORTLAND, Ore. - Centerfielder Amanda Evola had five hits and drove in five runs to lead Western Oregon to a 9-0, 10-2 doubleheader sweep of Simon Fraser Sunday at Monmouth, securing the Wolves the 2014 Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season softball title.

The Wolves (30-20, 18-6) earned the No. 1 seed in the GNAC tournament, which begins Thursday at Columbia Playfield in Richland, Wash. The winner of the tournament will receive the GNAC's automatic berth in the NCAA Regionals which begin Thursday, May 8.

The Wolves will play defending champion and fourth-seed Saint Martin's (26-20, 15-9) in their opening game at 7 p.m. Second-seed Western Washington (30-12, 17-7) will face third-seed Central Washington (27-16, 16-8) in Thursday's first game at 4:30 p.m.

Evola had three hits, catcher Bridjet Box hit a three-run home run in a six-run first inning and Kelli Demianew tossed a four-hit shutout to key WOU's first-game victory.

WOU also put the second game away early posting a 10-spot in the first inning. Evola had two hits in the frame, including a grand slam home run in her second at bat.

Western Washington had a chance to tie for the regular-season title Sunday but split a doubleheader at Saint Martin's. The Saints rallied from 3-0 and 5-4 deficits to win the opener scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth on a wild pitch and fielder's choice.

Sam Munger picked up her 19th win - she leads the GNAC in that category - against 14 losses. WWU outhit the Saints 15-10 - left fielder Autumn Isaacson, centerfielder Kaleigh Keating and third baseman Emma Blauser had three each - but hit into two double plays and stranded 10.

Second baseman Lacey McGladrey, third baseman Megan Miller, shortstop Dani Wall and left fielder Alyssa Slate each had two hits for the Saints.

In the second game, Western Washington led 4-2 until the Saints scored two runs in the sixth on singles by McGladrey and Miller to tie it. WWU, however, got a run in the seventh to win it as Isaacson singled, stole her 30th base of the season, advanced to third on an error and scored on a single by Keating.

SMU advanced a runner to third in the bottom of the inning, but pitcher Aspen Ison got a strikeout to end the game and improve her record to 7-3.

Keating had two of WWU's eight hits. One of the hits was a solo home run by first baseman Alexie Levin. It was her school-record 10th of the season. Levin leads the GNAC in batting (.433), home runs and RBI (46) and is making a bid to win the GNAC's Triple Crown. Isaacson's stolen base total is a GNAC record.

Right fielder Mary Dettling had three hits and McGladrey had two for the Saints.