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Sandoval leads Raiders to CCC final

ASHLAND — Southern Oregon’s dominance of Oregon Tech extended from the regular season to the postseason Saturday, when Gabby Sandoval broke a second Cascade Conference record in as many days in a 6-0 Raiders win at University Field.

Sandoval turned in a three-hitter for her 13th shutout of the season, replacing the old conference record that was first established 20 years ago and sending fourth-ranked SOU to today’s title round of the CCC Championships.

The Raiders (44-7) will play at 1:30 p.m. today against the winner of an elimination game between the second-seeded Owls (39-14) and third-seeded College of Idaho (38-14).

Whichever teams comes out of that matchup would need to defeat the Raiders twice to deny them their third consecutive tournament championship.

SOU has won all five of its games against 10th-ranked OIT this season, and the Owls totaled 10 errors in the last two. They committed one that set up the Raiders’ two-run third inning and another in a four-run fourth, allowing four unearned runs to score.

After an error and an Allie Stines single put two on with no outs in the third, Lauren Quirke’s RBI groundout and Tayler Walker’s successful squeeze bunt made it 2-0. Paige Leeper led off the fourth with a single before Hannah Wessel, laying down a sacrifice bunt, reached on a bad throw. Avery Morehead-Hutsell’s groundout drove in the first run and Hannah Shimek’s triple to right plated two more. Quirke followed with another RBI hit.

Leeper and Shimek had two hits apiece and Stines went 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored.

Sandoval cruised in an 80-pitch outing that brought her record to 29-3. She struck out one and walked one, inducing 14 flyouts and five groundouts.

Sarah Abramson took the loss for OIT, going to 21-5. Logan Nunes doubled for the Owls’ only extra-base hit.