Emily Benson hit for the cycle in the second game of WWU’s doubleheader vs. MSU Billings. PHOTO: WWU Athletics
Vikings Complete 4-Game Sweep of MSUB
March 4, 2019
BELLINGHAM, Wash. – The Western Washington University softball team completed a four-game series sweep over Montana State Billings winning 3-1 and 18-9 on Sunday in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play at Viking Field.
A day after the Vikings recorded back-to-back shutouts by scores of 10-0 and 8-0, WWU improved to 4-0 in GNAC play and 10-5 overall by winning games with a pitching gem by Makinlee Sellevold in the first game and a 15-hit, 18-run offensive outburst in the nightcap.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this team and their performance this weekend,” said head coach Sheryl Gilmore. “Everyone played a role in the team’s success and our energy was on point. It was 21 on 1 out there.”
WWU senior first baseman Emily Benson went 4-for-4 with 3 runs scored, 4 RBI and hit for the cycle in the second game. She doubled in the first inning, had a single and triple (the second of her career) in the 10-run 3rd inning and hit a walk-off 2-run home run in the bottom of the 6th inning to cap the 18-9 victory.
Sellevold twirled another gem in the first game, allowing 5 hits and one run in 7.0 innings in the 3-1 victory. The senior right-hander completed a weekend that saw her go 3-0, allowing only 6 hits and one run in 18.0 innings in the circle. She struck out 28 and walked only 6 in the three complete-game victories, including throwing the 25th no-hitter in GNAC history on Saturday.
“Makinlee was absolutely unbelievable allowing only on run in three complete games with 28 strikeouts,” added Gilmore on her senior ace. “We couldn’t ask for a better performance from her. She is gritty and really left it all out on the field for her teammates.”
WWU’s 18-run outburst in the second game came with scoring in just two innings, a 10-run 3rd inning and 8 runs in the 6th inning, falling one run short of the all-time program single-game record. For the day WWU scored 21 runs on 21 hits, with 3 home runs, 2 doubles and 2 triples.
“Our offense was explosive and so fun to watch,” said Gilmore. “The team is starting to make great adjustments and learning from every pitch. It was so cool to see everyone contribute throughout the lineup in big moments.”
Benson was 4-for-7 with 3 runs and 4 RBI for the day, while sophomore right fielder Mackenzie Palmer combined to go 4-for-8 with 3 runs and 2 RBI. Junior Paityn Cyr was 3-for-7 with a home run, and with hits in each game, extended her hitting streak to 14 consecutive games, tied for 4th-longest in WWU history.
The Vikings also flashed the leather in the series vs. the Yellowjackets, making only one error on Sunday as part of a weekend series where the defense had a .979 fielding percentage with only 2 errors in 96 total chances.
“Our defense really came together this weekend too with just two errors the series,” said Gilmore. “Our communication is getting better each time we step on the field and our ability to control the lead runner has really helped our cause.”
WWU (10-5, 4-0) returns to action next weekend in GNAC play with road doubleheaders at Concordia (Saturday) and Western Oregon (Sunday).
WWU (10-5, 4-0 GNAC) continues conference play next weekend with road doubleheaders at Concordia in Portland on Saturday (12 & 2 pm) and Sunday at Western Oregon in Monmouth (12 & 2 pm). The game will stream online and feature live statistical updates with links available at WWUVikings.com/Live.
-- WWU Softball --