by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
NEWBERG, Ore. – The Whitworth Pirates broke out the bats and outscored defending Northwest Conference champion George Fox 22-4 in Saturday's doubleheader sweep of the Bruins.
All four George Fox (0-4, 0-2 NWC) runs came on solo home runs. Kimi Ito, Allison Meyer, and Claire Fountain went yard in the opener and Alyssa Gonzalez homered in the nightcap.
Game 1: Whitworth 12, George Fox 3 (5 innings)
The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the second at-bat of the game and never relinquished their advantage in a dominant performance that opened their weekend in Oregon.
McNaught did the early damage with a double to left field that scored Lowery and Sara Gayer followed two batters later with a sacrifice fly that doubled the advantage to 2-0.
Meyer punished a mistake pitch from Drea Schwaier-Wolf to cut the Pirates' lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the first inning, but the game wouldn't be close for long as Whitworth responded with an eight-run third inning to essentially put the game away.
Once again, McNaught did most of the damage with two doubles in the frame that drove in four runs total. The senior center fielder went 4-4 with 3 doubles and 5 RBI in the game.
Whitworth stretched its lead out to 12-1 in the top of the fifth inning, adding a pair of runs on Lowery's triple to center field. The insurance paid off as it ensured that the Bucs would invoke the mercy rule even after George Fox hit two solo home runs in the bottom of the frame.
Even with the home runs, Schwaier-Wolf put together a strong day in the circle, allowing just three runs in five innings of work. The freshman also struck out five Bruins and walked just one.
As a team, the Pirates finished with a .522 batting average and a season-high 5 extra-base hits. Rheanne Lewis swiped her conference-leading sixth base in the first inning.
Game 2: Whitworth 10, George Fox 1 (6 innings)
After Whitworth's bats carried them to a win in the first game, they turned to Madelyn Carlson early in the nightcap. The sophomore delivered, allowing just one run on three hits en route to her third win of the year.
Early on, it looked like Carlson's performance would need to be near-perfect for the Pirates to earn another win. The Bucs scored just one run, a solo home run from Maddy Thomas, in the first four innings as Ashley Davis started the game well in the circle for the Bruins.
Whitworth jumped on Davis in the fifth inning. Back-to-back singles from Desi Graham and Lowery put two runners on for McNaught, who homered on a 3-2 pitch to dead-center field. Lewis continued the scoring barrage by driving in two runs with a line-drive single to right field. The Pirates led 7-0 after Lewis scored on an error.
George Fox cut the Pirate lead to 7-1 after a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Whitworth tacked on three more runs in the sixth to trigger the mercy-rule for the second consecutive game. Michelle Silva and Gayer drove in two of the runs with back-to-back doubles, and Lewis singled in Gayer to add the final run of the game.
Looking Ahead: The Pirates finish up their four-game series with the Bruins on Sunday. The opener starts at 12 p.m. with the nightcap scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.