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Keel key in SOU's split with rival OIT

ASHLAND — Freshman Lauren Keel came off the bench to thwart an Oregon Tech rally and helped Southern Oregon earn a Cascade Conference split on Tuesday at University Field.

Southern Oregon (9-15, 5-5) won the first game 3-2, while Oregon Tech (19-17, 6-4) took the second game 6-2.

In the opener, both teams scored a pair of runs in the opening frame and then went silent until late in the game.

Senior Bailey Price started a sixth-inning rally with a double to the wall in center. After a groundout, SOU starting pitcher Karri Johnson got on with a two-out walk and freshman Jessica Flores followed with a two-run double to center to give the Raiders a 3-1 lead.

Oregon Tech fought back in the top of the seventh, scoring a run to cut the lead to 3-2 and loading the bases with no outs. SOU head coach Kolby Schooley pulled Johnson in favor of Keel and the freshman delivered.

Keel got the first out on a pop-up to the shortstop and then struck out the final two batters swinging to give Southern Oregon the victory and Keel her first career save.

Johnson picked up the victory to improve to 5-4 on the season and 5-1 in conference play.

Flores led the SOU offense with a pair of hits including a double, while Meghan Laughlin, Price, Sarah Wharton and Emily Wharton also had doubles.

In the nightcap, SOU took advantage of three OIT errors in the bottom of the third for a 1-0 lead.

OIT came back with two runs on three hits and an error in the top of the fourth and SOU tied it again in the fifth on an unearned run.

The Owls finally broke it open in the top of the seventh with four runs on six hits to put the Raiders away.

Former North Medford standout Taylor Schmidt went the distance for Oregon Tech, limiting the Raiders to three hits in the complete-game victory. Jess Plummer had three hits for the Owls.

Katie Moy, Price and Rayna Okimoto had the three hits for the Raiders.