Southern Oregon's start wasn't nearly as sweet as its finish in a 7-4, 5-2 Cascade Conference doubleheader sweep of Great Falls (Mont.) on Friday at University Field.
Playing at home for the first time this season, the Raiders (16-4 overall, 4-1 CCC) trailed 4-0 through five innings of the opener. They scored all seven of their runs in the sixth — including six with two outs — as Tyler Burke hit a game-tying two-run double, Kelsey Randall crushed a go-ahead triple, and nine straight batters reached base. Freshman pitcher Karlee Coughlin got them through Game 2, allowing six hits without a walk as she improved to 5-0 in a complete game.
The Argos dropped to 8-4 and 1-4 in the CCC. The teams will meet again today, playing a conference game at 11 a.m. and finishing with a nonleague contest at 1 p.m.
UGF went up in the first inning on a Hali Gruntowicz lined single to right field, tacked on with Jocelyn Kaufman's solo blast to left and Kylie Gonzalez's RBI single in the second, and made it 4-0 when Bailey Henderson's single scored Makaylee Jaussi in the fourth. Starting pitcher Mikayla Deigan was rolling, too, blanking SOU on four hits through five innings.
The Raiders battered her in the sixth, however, with four doubles and a triple among their damage. Harlee Donovan led off with a double and her pinch-runner, Davalin Ontiveros, was singled in by Taylor Martinez with one out. Coughlin then doubled, but Martinez got caught between third and home and was tagged out. With two down, the floodgates opened: Abigail Lund and Aaliyah Oliver kept the inning going with infield singles to make it 4-2, and Burke tied it with a double to deep left-center. Randall's triple put the Raiders ahead, and after Kayleen Smith's walk Donovan hit her second two-bagger of the inning to score them both.
Donovan and Martinez had three hits apiece in the game to help Gabby Sandoval, who allowed 11 hits but survived six innings with five strikeouts. Victoria Mackey earned the save with a perfect seventh.
In Game 2, Smith broke a scoreless tie in the third with a two-run single that scored Oliver, who had reached on an error, and Burke, who had singled. UGF tied it in the fourth: After Henderson led off with a double, Gonzalez drove her home with a single to center and later scored on Deigan's long single to the fence.
SOU got the lead back in the bottom of the inning, which Nicole Cardoza set up with a leadoff hit. Her pinch-runner, Kristen Mauroschadt, was sacrificed over and Oliver's infield hit put runners at first and third. Oliver stole second, and when the attempt to catch her was cut off Mauroschadt bolted for home and slid in safely.
In the fifth, bases-loaded walks for Martinez and Lund made it 5-2.
Coughlin finished the Argos off on 74 pitches with just one strikeout. She's gone five straight starts without allowing more than two earned runs.
Shelby Abeyta (4-1) took the loss, allowing five runs and three earned in four innings.