Raiders stay hot, sweep tripleheader against Northwest Christian

    EUGENE — The 14th-ranked Southern Oregon University softball team and Northwest Christian remained on opposite ends of the Cascade Conference standings as the Raiders swept through a tripleheader by scores of 12-2, 3-0 and 10-4 on Monday at James Park.
    SOU went to 32-9 overall and 15-3 in the CCC, staying tied with Corban in the loss column and two games ahead in the win column for first place. The wins set up a key four-game series scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Ashland against No. 24 Oregon Tech, which will enter the weekend two games back.
    In dropping the Beacons to 5-30 and 2-16 in the CCC, the Raiders got 37 hits on the day from all over the lineup: Harlee Donovan went 6-for-11 with her sixth home run, two doubles, seven RBI and five runs scored; Hannah Wessel went 6-for-9 with three doubles and four RBI; Tayler Walker went 6-for-9 with a double and three RBI; Hannah Shimek tallied five hits, four runs and three stolen bases; and Kelsey Randall poked three triples. In the circle, starters Gabby Sandoval (16-3) and Allie Hancock (6-1) and reliever Morgan Jones (6-2) picked up the decisions.
    The Raiders have won 18 of their last 20 overall.
    GAME 1 — SOU 12, NCU 2: Sandoval allowed five hits and two runs (both unearned) over five innings to win her ninth straight decision, and she worked all game with a lead after Rebecca Velasquez’s two-run single in the first. The Raiders hung four more runs on NCU in the third, as Walker and Wessel hit back-to-back RBI doubles ahead of Olivia Mackey and Avery Morehead-Hutsell’s back-to-back RBI singles.
    Donovan went 3-for-3 with two run-scoring singles — the last in SOU’s three-run seventh — and a solo home run, which was blasted to left field in the sixth.
    GAME 2 — SOU 3, NCU 0: Hancock’s second shutout of the season was a perfect game until the bottom of the sixth, when Alexis Westbrooks hit a one-out single to right and was immediately doubled off first base on Kyla Wagner’s ensuing lineout. Hancock finished with a two-hitter, working around a leadoff double in the seventh, and struck out five without a walk.
    The Raiders gave her two runs to play with in the fourth, a rally that started with a Donovan walk. After Velasquez took Donovan’s place on a fielder’s choice, Walker tripled her home with two outs and later scored on Tiana Brown’s single up the middle. Brown and Shimek were the only Raiders with multiple hits; in the fifth, Shimek kept the inning alive with a bunt single and Donovan followed with an RBI double to make it 3-0.
    GAME 3 — SOU 10, NCU 4: Tied 4-4 through five innings, the Raiders struck for five of their 14 hits and five runs in the sixth. Wessel and Davalin Ontiveros set the table with one-out singles, and Wessel scored the go-ahead run on a botched first-and-third steal defense. After Randall walked, Shimek hit a one-run single and Donovan and Velasquez provided the exclamation points with consecutive RBI doubles.
    Jones worked three innings of three-hit relief and got the win after entering in the third, and Sandoval finished it off with two scoreless frames.

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