After struggling on a road trip in California from March 23–25, SFU’s softball team’s road woes continued as they travelled to Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) this past weekend. The Clan, who came into the weekend as second in the conference with a dominant 8–4 conference record, have now fallen to 9–7, placing them behind Northwest Nazarene for fourth place in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) by winning percentage. A win in the first game of the series indicated that SFU was back to its winning ways, but the team went on to get swept in the next three games.
Game 1: 2–0 for SFU
Obviously the highlight of the weekend for the Clan, game one was won by fantastic pitching for SFU. The effort was done by Jessica Tate and Alia Stachoski, who pitched four and three innings each, respectively, combining to only give up four runs in the shutout. For Northwest Nazarene, however, freshman pitcher Jordan Adams managed to lower her GNAC-leading earned-run-average to 1.99, as both runs for the Clan were unearned. SFU managed only three hits in the complete-game effort, but made them count. Victoria Saunders got the hit of the game, hitting a double to lead off the fourth inning before scoring on an error. In the sixth inning, SFU added on another one, as Hailey Gearey hit a single, moved to second on a sacrifice groundout, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a throwing error. For a game in which the Clan struggled with offence, great pitching and a couple errors from their opponent would make the difference.
Game 2: 7–8 for NNU
Game two was the exact opposite, as both teams did a great job of hitting, with Northwest Nazarene narrowly beating out SFU. After shutting out their opponents in game one, the Clan gave up five runs to the Nighthawks in the first inning, and were playing catch up from then on out. After being down 8–1 heading into the sixth inning, however, SFU managed to make a game of it. In the sixth inning, the team scored six runs on six hits, with doubles from Gearey, Hannah Boulanger, and Taylor Lundrigan being the big hits. Despite this, NNU starter Rae Young came back to pitch the seventh and final inning and managed to shut out the Clan.
Game 3: 0–3 for NNU
After giving up zero earned runs in game one of the series, Adams came back for the Nighthawks to pitch a complete game gem in game three. She gave up only three hits in the contest, while striking out eight. This marks her eighth consecutive start giving up one earned run or less, as she continues to dominate the National Collegiate Athletic Association II. For SFU, Tate also pitched a fantastic game, giving up only five hits. Her one mistake came in the fourth inning when she gave up a two-run homerun to Shelbie Martinez. She is now 4–3 on the season.
Game 4: 2–8 for NNU
The finishing touch on a disappointing weekend, hardly anything went the Clan’s way in game four. The only bright spot was the fourth inning, where SFU scored two runs; one off a double by Amanda James, and one off of a Kate Fergusson single. For NNU, they scored three runs in the third, two in the fourth, and put the game out of reach with a three-run homerun in the fifth. Stachoski started, giving up five runs in 4.1 innings of work. She is now 8–8 on the season.
After nine straight games on the road, the Clan will happily return to Terry Fox Field next weekend. They will play a double-header against Saint Martin’s University on Saturday, April 7, before playing a double-header against Central Washington the next day. Saint Martin’s sits right behind the Clan with a 6–6 conference record, while Central Washington is first in the GNAC with a 9–3 record.