EUGENE — The Southern Oregon softball team closed out the season on Tuesday in winning fashion, sweeping Northwest Christian 9-6 and 8-2 in a pair of Cascade Collegiate Conference games at James Park.
Southern Oregon ended the year with five straight wins to finish 20-21 overall and 16-12 in conference play. The Raiders rank fifth in the conference standings, one game behind College of Idaho for fourth place.
Seniors Kara Kelsey and Irene Barrantes ended their SOU careers with four-hit days, as Kelsey led the way with three hits in the opener and Barrantes tallied a pair of hits in each contest.
Sydney White earned the victory in the opener for the Raiders and ended her freshman season with a 14-8 record. Karlie Stephens won Game 2 to claim her fourth pitching victory.
The first game featured three early runs and then a lot of scoring in the final innings. Southern Oregon took advantage of leadoff walks in the first two innings to score a run in each frame, while a leadoff triple led to an NCU run in the bottom of the first.
Offense took over in the sixth inning, as SOU scored six runs on six hits and NCU tallied three on five in the frame. Julia Willison led off with a double and advanced to third on a Barrantes single. Jessica Flores singled to drive in the first run and Lauren Keel singled home the second run of the inning. Kelsey followed with an RBI double and eventually scored on a double steal. A pair of walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases and Ashley Lowe singled to bring home another run.
After three NCU runs in the bottom of the sixth, Flores led off the top of the seventh with a double and scored on a single by Stephanie Vandenbusch. The Beacons scored two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, but White struck out Addy Hoskins to end the game.
A pair of hit batsmen led to SOU's first run of the second game as Barrantes' RBI single made it 1-0 in the top of the second. Northwest Christian tied it up in the bottom of the inning, but SOU used a pair of hits and two more walks to reclaim the lead in the top of the fourth. An NCU error led to two more runs for the Raiders in the top of the fifth.
The first four Raiders singled in the sixth inning, and Vandenbusch followed with a bases-loaded walk to force in a run. Sierra Anderson drove in another run with a groundout, and Willison's sacrifice fly gave SOU four runs in the inning and an 8-1 lead. Northwest Christian scored its final run of the game on consecutive doubles in the bottom of the frame.