CLERMONT, Fla. – Whitworth University opened its participation at The Spring Games softball tournament near Orlando in impressive fashion on Friday morning. The Pirates defeated Lawrence University 8-0 in six innings and North Central College 12-1 in five innings to improve to 11-3 this season.
Myranda Ramirez went 8-8 at the plate on Friday, while Madi Perez threw four innings of shutout ball in the opener and Makayla Lefever tossed four shutout innings in the second game to lead Whitworth to victory.
The Pirates will take on three-time defending national champion Tufts University on Saturday morning before facing Wisconsin-Whitewater in the second game.
Game 1 – Whitworth 8, Lawrence 0 (6 innings)
Allie Rude homered and tripled as the Pirates scored in every inning but the fifth to steadily pull away from the Vikings, who were playing their season-opener.
Whitworth got on the board in the bottom of the first after Alyssa Hall and Myranda Ramirez led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Hall scored on a sacrifice fly by Chelsea Hayes and Ramirez scored on Tessa Matthews' RBI single.
Rude led off the second inning with a triple and scored on Desi Graham's sacrifice fly. Rude then drilled a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning, her first of the season, to give the Bucs a 5-0 lead.
Hayes added an RBI single in the fourth to drive in Ramirez. She then ended the game with a triple to left that drove home Ramirez and Kelsey Downey with the mercy-clinching runs.
Perez (3-3) and Nikki Olsen combined on a six-inning one-hitter. Perez struck out four and walked none in four innings. Olsen struck out one and walked one in her two innings of work.
Ramirez finished the game 4-4 with three runs scored, while Hayes went 3-3 with four RBIs and Rude was 2-2 with a pair of RBIs.
Game 2 – Whitworth 12, North Central 1 (5 innings)
Ramirez posted her second straight 4-4 game and drove in four runs, while Hall finished 3-4 with three runs scored as the Pirates made quick work of the Cardinals, who fell to 2-2.
Hall and Ramirez scored the first two runs in the top of the first after opening with singles. A throwing error on the NCC pitcher allowed both runners to score unearned runs.
Ramirez added a two-run single in the second. She moved up on a passed ball that allowed Desi Graham to score, then scored herself on a throwing error by the Cardinal's catcher for a 6-0 lead.
Ramirez added two more RBIs with another single in the third that drove in Hall and Downey.
The Pirates added their final four runs in the top of the fifth. Hayes drew a bases-loaded walk, Matthew's followed with a two-run single and Michelle Silva doubled home the final run.
North Central got its only run in the bottom of the fifth on Amanda Walker's RBI double off of Ashley Trueblood with two outs. But it was not enough to prevent a mercy-rule ending for the Cardinals.
Lefever improved to 7-0 this season with four shutout innings. She gave up three hits while walking two and striking out two batters.