WWU falls 8-7 to Central Washington in GNAC Tournament opener

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Autumn Isaacson
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Autumn Isaacson
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

May 1, 2014

Box Score

RICHLAND, Wash. - In a game that had nine unearned runs, six errors and three lead changes, No.2 seed Western Washington University fell 8-7 to No.3 seed Central Washington University in an opening-round game of the second annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Softball Tournament on Thursday at the Columbia Playfield.

The Vikings, who fell to 30-13, play No.4 seed Saint Martin's on Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the double-elimination tourney.

The loss was just the second for WWU in its last nine games and only the fifth in its last 24. The two rivals had split their first four meetings this season, all of them decided by one run.

Central, which improved to 28-16, meets No.1 seed Western Oregon at 2 p.m. on Friday. Western Oregon defeated Saint Martin's 3-1 in eight innings in the other first-round contest.

A two-out, two-run homer in the top of the fifth by Michaela Hazlett following a single by Andrea Hamada put the Wildcats ahead to stay at 8-7. The home run was the first by Hazlett this season.

WWU took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Autumn Isaacson (Jr., Lake Stevens), who was 3-for-4 and scored three runs in the game, singled, got to second with her GNAC-record 31st steal, and scored on a single by Kaleigh Keating (Sr., Salinas, CA).

Central scored twice in the second and four times in the third, four of the runs being unearned, to take a 6-1 advantage.

The Vikings made it 6-2 on a run-scoring single by Haylee Baker (Sr., Bainbridge) in the third.

Then WWU scored five runs in the fourth, all of them unearned, to go ahead 7-6. With the bases loaded and one out, the Vikings' scored one on an error by the pitcher, then plated three more on Baker's fielder's choice when Arianna Barrio (So., Stanwood/Lakewood) slid into the catcher, forcing an errant throw into right field. A sacrifice fly by Amanda Flores (Sr., Ferndale) completed the scoring.

That set the stage for Nazlett's home run.

Central's Maria Gua (17-6), who gave up just two earned runs, got the win. She retired the last 10 Viking batters.

WWU's Jenna DeRosier (Sr., Kelso) (17-5), who allowed just four earned runs, was tagged with the loss.

Central and the Vikings each committed three errors. The Wildcats had nine hits and left five runners on base. WWU had eight hits and left six runners stranded.

In the four previous meetings between the two teams, a total of 13 runs were scored. This time, by the end of the fourth inning, the teams had combined for 13.

WWU entered the tourney ranked No.8 in the latest NCAA Division II West Region poll and Central was No.7.

GNAC Softball Championships (May 1-3 at Richland, Wash.)

Game 2: Western Oregon 3, Saint Martin's 1

RICHLAND, Wash - Western Oregon scored a run with two out in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings, then got a two-run walk-off home run by third baseman Jourdan Williams in the eighth inning to beat Saint Martin's 3-1 in Game 2 of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Softball Championships at Columbia Playfield Thursday.

The Wolves (31-20), the GNAC regular-season champions, will face third-seed Central Washington in a winner's bracket game Friday at 2 p.m. Meanwhile the defending champion Saints (26-21) will take on second-seed Western Washington (26-21) in a loser-out game at 4:30 p.m.

Central Washington defeated Western Washington 8-7 in Thursday's first game. Friday's second-game winner will play the loser of Friday's first game at 7 p.m. for the right to play in the championship game Saturday beginning at noon. The victor earns an automatic berth in next week's NCAA West Regional.

For 6 2/3 innings, and with a little help from her defense, Saint pitcher Sam Munger was in control and just one strike away from the victory.

With the Saints leading 1-0, a backhanded snare of a sharp ground ball by third baseman Megan Miller to end the sixth kept Western Oregon off the scoreboard.

Then in the bottom of the seventh, SMU center fielder Taviah Jenkins made two outstanding plays, first throwing designated hitter Raina Reece out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. Jenkins threw a strike from right center to shortstop Dani Wall.

The next Western Oregon batter then drove the ball to center where Jenkins crashed into the wall to acquire the second out.

Western Oregon, however, down to its final strike, climbed off the canvas as ninth-place hitter Danielle Hannan singled on a 0-2 count and then scored on a double by Melanie Pfeiffer to force extra innings.

In the eighth, after winning pitcher Kelli Demianew retired the side in order in the top of the frame, Amanda Evola led off WOU's half of the with a single. She was then bunted to second by Bridget Box. Williams then drove the ball to where center fielder Jenkins couldn't catch it - to left and over the fence.

Demianew allowed just five hits in earning her 15th win against nine losses. She didn't walk a batter and struck out two. Saint Martin's lone run scored on an error in the third and was unearned.

Munger sustained her 15th loss against 19 wins, giving up nine hits, five of them in the final 1 1/3 innings.

Pfeiffer and Hannan each had two hits for Western Oregon, while Jenkins had two of SMU's safeties.