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No. 1 SOU slugs way to sweep over No. 11 Hope

FULLERTON, Calif. — Facing an eight-game stretch over three days, top-ranked Southern Oregon started its week on the right foot with a sweep of 11th-ranked Hope International (Calif.) on Thursday, 5-2 and 10-5 at Bastanchury Park.

Gabby Sandoval struck out seven during a five-hit complete game in the opener and got all the support she needed from junior first baseman Tayler Walker, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs.

In Game 2, the Raiders peppered three Royals pitchers with 19 hits and got three apiece from Walker, Lauren Quirke, Hannah Shimek and Allie Stines.

SOU improved to 5-1 and dropped HIU to 4-4.

Walker gave Sandoval a lead to play with in the first frame of the doubleheader with a hit that drove in Shimek. In the second, two errors and a walk loaded the bases with no outs for Abbie Lewis, who cashed in with a two-run single.

Sandoval, who went to 3-0, allowed five hits and gave up her only runs on Nicole Wise’s home run in the bottom of the third. Walker opened up the lead again in the fifth with a two-run homer — the eighth of her career and first of the season for SOU — and Sandoval went on to retire 10 of the last 11 batters she faced.

Quirke had two hits and a walk and Avery Morehead-Hutsell went 2-for-3 in the opener.

In Game 2, Walker stayed hot with an RBI single in the Raiders’ three-run first inning and an RBI double in their three-run second. In addition to SOU’s four three-hit performances, Paige Leeper went 2-for-3 with and drove in three runs over the first two innings.

Olivia Mackey contributed two hits and two runs scored, and Shimek went scored two runs and recorded an RBI. Eighteen of SOU’s 19 hits were singles.

Skyler Mao launched a three-run shot in the third inning for the Royals.

Raider freshman Hannah Stark earned her first career win, working two innings in relief while giving up one hit and an unearned run. Lauren Quirke got through the first three innings and Sandoval worked the final 1 2/3 unscathed.

The twin bill was a rematch of last year’s NAIA opening round final, won by SOU in Medford.

The Raiders will face two more NAIA Top 25 opponents today at the TCS NAIA SoCal Classic, meeting 25th-ranked Marymount (Calif.) at 10 a.m., Embry-Riddle (Ariz.) at 3 p.m. and No. 9 Vanguard (Calif.) at 5:30 p.m.