The Eastern Oregon softball team kept its hopes for a berth in the Cascade Collegiate Conference tournament alive by taking two CCC contests from Northwest Christian on the road Friday and Saturday. The Mountaineers split Friday’s games, winning 3-0 and losing 3-2, then won the final CCC game Saturday, 9-3, before dropping the nonconference matchup to the Beacons, 7-6.
The outcomes leave EOU two games behind fifth-place Carroll and one game behind sixth-place British Columbia headed into its final series of the season, a home matchup against Oregon Tech. Both Carroll and UBC own tiebreakers over Eastern, meaning the Mountaineers need to win two — and possibly all three — CCC games to stay in the mix for one of the two remaining playoff spots.
EOU 3, NCU 0
Lauren Spencer allowed just four hits for her second shutout of the season and EOU mustered enough offense for a win in the series opener.
Rayne Spencer hit an RBI single in the third for a 1-0 lead, and Madison Barr added a two-run triple in the fifth for the final margin. Sarah Bonner added two hits for EOU, which had just five in the game.
Lauren Spencer struck out five and walked three for her fifth win of the season. She only faced one real jam in the game, loading the bases with two out in the first inning, but struck out Alexis Westbrooks to keep the game scoreless.
NCU 3, EOU 2
The Beacons scored three runs in the fifth inning to take game two and even the series.
Jordan Henley gave the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead with an RBI single in the fourth, but an Anna Cardwell solo home run, a Jordan Kuykendall RBI single and an error in the fifth gave NCU a 3-1 lead.
Bonner hit her own solo home run in the seventh and threatened further when Rayne Spencer doubled with two out, but couldn’t pull even.
Spencer and Brandi Bowling each had two hits. Amanda Smith allowed two earned runs on six hits in five innings, walking two and striking out five.
EOU 9, NCU 3
The Mountaineers left no doubt in what was basically a must-win game, scoring seven runs in the third and fourth innings to secure the win in the final CCC game of the weekend.
A passed ball and a Shevan DeFreitas RBI double gave Eastern an early 2-0 lead. The Beacons scored three times in the bottom of the first for a 3-2 edge before EOU took advantage of several NCU miscues.
Two NCU errors and a wild pitch allowed three runs to score in the third, and Bonner added an RBI single for a 6-3 lead. In the fourth, Barr hit an RBI single and Bowling added a two-run single for the final margin.
Barr finished 4-for-4 and scored three runs, and Spencer, who was 2-for-3, also scored three runs.
Lauren Spencer had her second complete game of the weekend, walking two and striking out three while allowing seven hits for the win. She allowed three runs, but all were unearned.
NCU 7, EOU 6
The Beacons scored early and often, then held off an EOU rally to win the nonconference game.
Haley Ebner, Payton Pocklington and Madison Parker all had RBI singles, and Bowling, who had two hits, added a two-run single for Eastern, which trimmed a 6-1 deficit to 6-5 in the fourth, but couldn’t pull even.
Jessica Lambert allowed six runs — two earned — on five hits with three walks in 2-2/3 innings for the loss.
The Mountaineers (12-29 overall, 7-17 CCC) face Oregon Tech Friday and Saturday.