Raiders pull off sweep of Eastern

ASHLAND — Taking advantage of an initially home-heavy schedule was imperative for Southern Oregon to position itself favorably in the Cascade Conference softball race. The Raiders continued to do exactly that in 7-1 and 8-5 wins Friday over Eastern Oregon at University Field.

With contributions across the board and a little help from the Mountaineers themselves, the Raiders (6-8 overall, 5-1 CCC) have now swept consecutive doubleheaders for the second time in the last three years. They're alone in second place going into today's twin bill against 15th-ranked College of Idaho (12-6, 4-2), which was swept Friday at first-place Oregon Tech.

Karlie Stephens shut down EOU (4-6, 1-5) in the opener to earn her first win of the season. She pitched a complete game, scattering five hits with four strikeouts and one walk.

In Game 2, the Raiders broke open a 4-4 game with four unearned runs in the fifth inning. Alexa Gonzalez reached on an error to start the inning and eventually scored the go-ahead run on Sierra Anderson's bases-loaded walk. Three more Raiders crossed the plate when Kassie Smith's two-out drive to deep centerfield was dropped.

Sydney White held EOU to one run in 31/3 innings of relief to earn the second win. She improved to 2-1 in CCC play.

Eight different Raiders scored and eight contributed hits on the day. Alexa Gonzalez was on base four times with three hits and three runs, and Ashley Lowe had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice.

Anderson's three-run triple to the opposite field was the big blow in the opener, when SOU scored six runs in the fifth inning to end a 1-all stalemate. With the game tied, Megan Scherer came home on a passed ball before Lowe singled in Smith, and Willison's bases-loaded walk forced in Tyler Burke.

In Game 2, Anderson doubled in the first of three runs that put the Raiders on top in the second. Scherer and Gina Ayala followed with run-scoring singles, and Lowe's double down the left field line put the Raiders up 4-1 in the third.

Before unraveling in the fifth, Eastern tied it in the fourth on an RBI triple by Nicole Redd and JoElla Smith's two-run double. The Mountaineers brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh, but Burke's running grab in the left-centerfield gap ended it.

Smith went 3-for-7 on the day to lead EOU. She, Mariebeth Watanabe, Katie Martell and Gracie Flyg had two hits apiece in Game 2.

First pitch against College of Idaho today is scheduled for 11 a.m. The Raiders' doubleheader against Oregon Tech on Tuesday has been moved to Monday and will start at 2 p.m.

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