One big and somewhat fortuitous inning gave the Eastern Oregon softball team all the offense it needed to finish off an important Cascade Collegiate Conference series victory over Carroll College Friday.
The Mountaineers scored all five of their runs in the third inning, capped off by a two-run home run by Bobbi Bertsch, en route to a 5-4 win over the Saints at Peggy Anderson Field.
The Mountaineers were down 2-0 entering the decisive frame, but started the inning with a Lena Richards double and a walk by Maryssa Santi.
EOU then caught a break. Rayne Spencer swung and missed at what was strike three, but the home plate umpire ruled catcher’s interference to negate the strikeout and instead load the bases with nobody out. Chelsea Spanier was hit by the next pitch to force in the Mountaineers’ first run. After a double play, Tayler Finch hit a two-run single, and Bertsch followed with a blast to left field to make it 5-2.
It was all the offense Eastern starting pitcher Hailey Kline needed, though the Saints put pressure on. Carroll closed within 5-3 on an RBI double by Brittany Smith in the fourth, then inched closer in the fifth on an RBI single by Allison Williams.
Kline, though, retired seven of the last eight batters she faced to secure the win. She finished allowing four runs on seven hits, walked two batters and struck out nine. Finch and Bertsch both finished with two RBIs for Eastern, while Santi and Madison Barr both had two hits.
Brooke Yarnell was 2-for-3 with two RBIs for Carroll and gave the Saints a 2-0 lead in the first with a two-run single.
Carroll bounced back to win the series’ nonconference game, 5-0, allowing just three hits by EOU in the contest.
Spencer had two of the Mountaineers’ hits, but EOU was shut down by Williams, who struck out six batters for the complete-game win. Williams helped her own cause with an RBI single in the third for a 1-0 lead. She later added an RBI single, and the Saints added two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings for the final margin.
Ashton Kazmierski took the loss for EOU, surrendering five runs on 11 hits in six innings. She walked three batters and struck out one.
Eastern Oregon (16-10 overall, 11-3 CCC) travels to Northwest University Friday.