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 Saturday's big 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.
Freshman left-hander Pat Moore struck out the first 11 batters she faced and finished with 15 Ks, and Brittany Miller was 4-for-5 at the plate with three doubles and four RBIs as South Medford dominated its season opener, 27-0 over Ashland on Friday at North Mountain Park.
Moore also hurt Ashland at the plate, going 4-for-5 with four RBIs in the leadoff spot. Also for South, which finished with 19 hits, Liz DeVaughn was 4-for-4 with five runs scored, while Rachel Moore and Hannah Newman added three hits apiece.
Ashland fell to 0-2.
South Medford 933 84 — 27 19 0
Ashland 000 00 — 0 0 7
Moore and Garrett; Hayes and Teixiera. W — Moore. L — Garrett. 2B — SM: Miller 3, R. Moore. 3B — SM: R. Moore.