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Raiders come from behind, complete sweep

ASHLAND — Southern Oregon made a weekend of its resilient play and dealt Great Falls (Mont.) two more deflating losses Saturday, 3-2 and 6-5 on Saturday afternoon at University Field.

After trailing 2-0 in the opener, the Raiders completed a sweep of the three-game Cascade Conference portion of the series by scoring one run in the sixth and two in the seventh — winning it on Harlee Donovan's bases-loaded walk. And, down 5-2 in Game 2, a three-run fourth inning tied the game thanks to a costly error and Abigail Lund's squeeze-bunt scored Davalin Ontiveros with no one out in the bottom of the ninth.

The Raiders (18-4, 5-1 CCC) will bring a six-game winning streak to Northwest (Wash.) for another conference set next weekend. In their opener Friday against the Argos (8-6, 1-5), they erased a 4-0 deficit with a seven-run sixth.

SOU's Kelsey Randall and Donovan both registered four hits on the day, including three apiece in Game 2, and Taylor Martinez joined them with a 3-for-5 showing in the finale. The Raiders' relievers pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings on the day; Victoria Mackey accounted for 5 1/3, including 1 2/3 in the opener to earn her second win, and Lexie Raasch tossed a perfect ninth in Game 2 to earn that decision.

UGF starter Kristina George cruised through the first five innings of the opener, blanking the Raiders on two hits, and the Argos got to SOU pitcher Gabby Sandoval in the sixth. Bailey Henderson led it off with a single and Kylie Gonzalez's subsequent sacrifice bunt was thrown away. Henderson's pinch-runner was then cut down by Randall, the shortstop, trying to score on a grounder from third, but Jocelyn Kaufman followed with a single to load the bases and Jackie Thomas lined a two-run single up the middle.

In the bottom of the inning, George finally cracked as Randall stroked a one-out hit and Rebecca Velasquez singled her home with two down. With one out in the seventh, Lund doubled to the left field fence, moved to third on Aaliyah Oliver's bunt single and scored the tying run on Tyler Burke's hit up the middle. After Randall walked to load the bases, Mikayla Deigan relieved George, and after Deigan got Kayleen Smith to pop out, she walked Donovan on four pitches.

Sandoval finished with four hits, four walks and two runs (one earned) on her line. Mackey, who induced a lineout, inning-ending double play when she entered in the sixth, improved to 2-0.

The Argos struck for three runs in the first inning of Game 2, all unearned against Lacie Crawford, on back-to-back two-out doubles by Thomas and Hali Gruntowicz. Randall came back with a two-run single in the second, but UGF made it 5-2 in the third when Gonzalez blasted a two-run homer to center.

SOU got some help to tie it in the fourth, as Donovan sent a bases-loaded fly ball to left field that went for an error and allowed all three runners to score with two outs.

In extras, Martinez led off the ninth with a single and was pinch-run for by Davalin Ontiveros. Tiana Brown came up next with a bunt single — but no one covered third, allowing Ontiveros to win a foot race to the bag while Brown took second. Lund's squeeze bunt, dribbled right in front of the plate, brought Ontiveros home without a play.

Brown went 2-for-3 in the game for SOU, and Gonzalez was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and the aforementioned home run for UGF. Deigan, who went 4 2/3 innings of relief, took the loss.