Raiders stay hot with tripleheader sweep

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.

In the first game, 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.

In the second game, 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.

Tied 4-4 through five innings of Game 3, 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.

Track & Field

Southern Oregon University women’s track and field garnered Cascade Conference Team of the Week honors, and sprinter Arianna Daniel was voted the CCC Women’s Track Athlete of the Week on Monday following Saturday’s efforts at the Chico Twilight.

Daniel, a sophomore from Elk Grove, Calif., took over the No. 1 spot on the conference’s 400-meter performance list with a time of 57.43 seconds that topped a 17-person field. She also helped the Raiders’ 4x100-meter relay team to a time of 47.57 seconds (the second-fastest in school history) that made them automatic qualifiers for the NAIA Outdoor Championships. The mark ranks ninth in the nation this season.

Daniel, who last year won the CCC’s 400-meter title and was all-conference in the 100 (third place) and 200 (second place) as a freshman, also owns the circuit’s top time in the 200 at 25.59 seconds.

Among SOU’s other highlights, Loghan Sprauer ran the fifth-fastest 100 in school history, clocking in at 12.33 seconds, and Tara Crosswhite recorded an NAIA ‘B’ standard time of 1:04.47 in the 400 hurdles. Crosswhite, Daniel, Sprauer and Savannah Greenwade also improved SOU’s 4x400 NAIA ‘B’ time to 3:55.33, ranking No. 8 on the national performance list, and Lauren McGowne bumped her conference-best long-jump mark to 18 feet 1 ¾ inches.

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