TACOMA, Wash. – Whitworth University tightened its grip on first place in the Northwest Conference softball standings with a doubleheader sweep at the University of Puget Sound on Sunday. The Pirates won the opener 2-0 and claimed the nightcap 8-1.
Whitworth, ranked 25th, is 22-9 overall and 14-6 in the NWC. The Bucs now have a three-game lead in the standings over four other schools tied for second place. The host Loggers fell to 9-20, 3-16.
The Pirates will return to action next weekend when they host Pacific Lutheran in a four-game series. PLU (11-9) is one of the four schools tied for second place.
The game was a scoreless tie until Whitworth broke through in the top of the fourth inning. Myranda Ramirez led off the inning with a single and Chelsey Hayes walked. Shannon Wessel then reached safely one out later, loading the bases for Silva. Silva's double to left field drove in Ramirez and Hayes and gave Lefever all the run support she would need.
Lefever only had to work out of serious trouble one time. She gave up a one-out double in the bottom of the third and a catcher's interference call put two runners on base with only one out. But she got Kristi Nagamine to ground into a fielder's choice and Amber Popovich to fly out to end the threat.
Lefever improved to 13-3 with her 12th complete game of the season. She struck out three and walked one.
Whitworth was limited to only four hits by UPS pitcher Jaci Young, who fell to 3-9 with the hard-luck loss.
Game 2 – Whitworth 8, Puget Sound 1
The Pirates grabbed a first-inning lead and Shannon Wessel's second home run of the season helped put the game away in the late innings.
Whitworth grabbed an early 3-0 lead. After Alyssa Hall led off the game with a hit and stole second base, she scored on a one-out single by Chelsey Hayes. Morgan Portlock followed with an RBI double to left center field. One out later Portlock scored when Silva reached on a fielding error at third base.
The score remained 3-0 until the top of the fifth inning when Wessel smashed a three-run homer to right-center field.
Wessel added an RBI single in the top of the seventh and scored on Desi Graham's two-out base hit to right field for an 8-0 Whitworth lead.
Puget Sound got on the board in the bottom of the seventh on Erica Gott's RBI double.
Wessel finished the game 2-4 with four RBIs for the Pirates, while Hayes went 3-4 with two runs scored. Graham also had a pair of hits.
Gott was the Loggers' starting pitcher and fell to 5-6 after allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits in 5.1 innings.