LA GRANDE — A huge sixth-inning rally Saturday lifted the Eastern Oregon University softball team to a sweep of University of British Columbia as the Mountaineers scored six times in the sixth to come back for a 9-8 win in Cascade Collegiate Conference play. The final game of the series, which was scheduled to be a nonconference tilt, was canceled.
The Thunderbirds seemed primed to salvage a win in the series as they scored five runs in the first, led by as many as six and were up 8-3 entering the sixth.
But EOU chipped away, loading the bases with nobody out and trimming the margin to four on Payton Pocklington’s sacrifice fly. Katie Silvestri scored on a bases-loaded walk to Brittney Bertrand, and Jordan Henley made it 8-7 with a two-run single.
A pitching change by UBC did nothing to stop the bleeding, as Haley Ebner greeted pitcher Damara Begin with a single to drive in Bertrand and tie the score, and Amanda Smith followed with a single to drive in pinch-runner Tina Furado for the lead.
Natalee Hall closed the door in the seventh for EOU as she pitched 3-1/3 innings of shutout relief for the win as Eastern moved to 3-0 at Peggy Anderson Field.
UBC dominated early. A sacrifice fly by Olivia Malesku, a Nicole Salas two-run single and run-scoring singles by Emily Chorpita and Jordan Britten-Yung gave the Thunderbirds a five-run first-inning lead, and the margin reached six in the second when Cassa Courtney hit a sacrifice fly.
A bases-loaded walk to Mandy Fetters in the second got EOU on the board. UBC pushed the lead back to six twice, but EOU responded both times. Henley scored on an error in the third after Britten-Yung had hit an RBI single earlier in the frame, and after Hanna Hansen homered in the top of the fourth, Alaina Carson knocked an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to make it 8-3.
Eastern won despite being out-hit 13-7, taking advantage of eight walks issued by UBC pitchers. Henley and Ebner both had two hits, and Henley finished with two RBIs.
Eastern (6-15 overall, 5-4 CCC) is on the road for the next 10 games, beginning Friday with a series at Northwest Christian.