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Southern Oregon earns split with OIT

KLAMATH FALLS — Southern Oregon claimed a 7-3 victory in the opener and No. 15 Oregon Tech powered five home runs to win the second game 12-1 and split a Cascade Collegiate Conference softball doubleheader Tuesday.

Southern Oregon's record goes to 12-13 overall and 8-4 in conference play, while Oregon Tech goes to 26-9 overall and 10-4 in the CCC.

Ashley Lowe tallied three hits in the opener to lead SOU, including a two-run triple in the fourth inning, while Alexa Gonzalez and Jessica Flores each finished with three hits in the two games.

Sydney White picked up the complete-game victory in the opener, limiting Oregon Tech to three runs on nine hits with six strikeouts.

The Raiders scored three runs on three hits in the top of the first inning. Gonzalez and Lowe both singled to load the bases after Kara Kelsey was hit by a pitch. Stephanie Vandenbusch brought home the first run when she was hit by a pitch, and Sierra Anderson drove in a run with a fielder's choice groundout. Irene Barrantes made it 3-0 with a single to center.

Southern Oregon added a run in the third and two more in the fourth. Oregon Tech scored its first run in the bottom of the sixth when former North Medford player Taylor Schmidt homered to left, and the Raiders responded with a run in the top of the seventh.

The Owls bounced back with a powerful offensive performance in the second game, hitting a school-record four home runs in the fourth inning. After three Owls walked to load the bases in the bottom of the first inning, Alyssa Davis cranked a grand slam to left field.

Track and Field

The Southern Oregon track and field program returns to California this weekend, sending athletes to the Bay Area for Friday's San Francisco State Distance Carnival.

Around 20 distance runners will compete at Friday's meet in events ranging from the 800-meter run to the 10,000-meter run as the Raiders continue to aim for Cascade Collegiate Conference and NAIA qualifying marks.

"It's a very high-level competition meet, so we're excited to get our real official distance runners' start to the season off on a good start," SOU coach Grier Gatlin said.

"We're really excited to get down there and run fast."

The Raiders hope to conclude the first full month of the outdoor season in strong fashion after earning four NAIA qualifying marks and 39 CCC qualifiers last Saturday at the Chico State Wildcat Invitational. Mikayla Garrard and Amelia Maguin both posted some of the best marks of their careers and joined Nicole Leaf and Jordan Luker on the women's 4x100 relay team that earned an NAIA 'B' qualifier.

As the calendar turns to April and the regular season begins to wind down, Gatlin believes the team is poised for even more success going forward. That begins this weekend for the distance runners down in San Francisco.

"Things are shaping up as we get into the championship portion of the season, which we consider April and May to be," Gatlin said. "We're expecting some big things and as we move forward getting into April things are shaping up for us to have a big year if we can stay healthy and do all the right things."