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Raiders survive two elimination games

ASHLAND — With its season on the line, the 20th-ranked Southern Oregon University softball team came up big twice Saturday in a pair of Cascade Conference Tournament elimination games at University field and kept its season alive for at least another day.

The Raiders — whose backs were against the wall after a 12-11 loss to Eastern Oregon in their tournament opener on Friday — came back with a 4-2 win over Oregon Tech in nine innings to start the day, and ended it with a 16-5 knockout of Corban. SOU ran its record to 36-15 and set up a date at 11 a.m. today against Great Falls (24-17) for the right to play Eastern Oregon in the championship round at 1:30 p.m.

The SOU-Great Falls winner would have to defeat EOU twice for the title but would also take the CCC's second automatic bid to the NAIA tournament. The Raiders have never appeared in the conference championship game.

To stay alive, the Raiders defeated OIT for the fourth time in five tries this season. The five games were decided by seven runs, and three went to extra innings. SOU then ended a four-game losing streak against Corban.

SOU 16, CORBAN 5, 5 inn.: The grind of a second elimination game in one day appeared to get to Corban during an ugly fifth inning.

The Warriors committed seven errors that led to 11 unearned runs, including five errors in a nine-run fifth inning that enabled SOU to pad its 7-5 lead. The game ended by way of the mercy rule after SOU's Sydney White tossed a perfect inning in relief of starter Victoria Mackey, who improved to 16-3 on the season.

SOU totaled 12 hits to the Warriors' 10. Megan Winton went 3-for-4 with three runs and an RBI, while Kelsey Randall (three runs, two RBIs), Kayleen Smith (two runs, three RBIs) and Abigail Lund (two runs, two RBIs) all went 2-for-3.

SOU 4, OREGON TECH 2, 9 inn.: With two outs in the top of the ninth, the score tied at 1 and Jazmin Ruvalcaba at bat, runners Kayleen Smith and Aaliyah Oliver — who both reached on walks — moved to second and third on Ann-Marie Guischer's wild pitch.

Ruvalcaba then grounded to shortstop, but the ball was bobbled by Alyssa Davis and her throw was wide, allowing Oliver to score the go-ahead run. Amelia Hensler and Megan Winton followed with lined RBI singles to make it 4-1.

Sydney White (14-8) kept the Raiders going by lasting all nine innings and holding the Owls to five hits and one earned run with six strikeouts.