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No. 1 Raiders sweep Bushnell, extend winning streak to 9

SPRINGFIELD — Top-ranked Southern Oregon was able to enjoy another relaxing afternoon at Rich Schwab Field by posting two more huge first innings in 12-2 and 13-2 wins against Bushnell on Saturday, wrapping up both in five innings.

The Raiders scored eight times in the first inning of Game 1 on their way to completing a three-game sweep of the Cascade Conference portion of the series, then scored seven in the opening frame of the non-conference finale and took their winning streak to nine games.

Sophomore shortstop Rylan Austin went 3-for-3 with a double and two runs scored in Game 1 and freshman infielder Lauren Weinberg went 4-for-5 with a double, two runs and two RBIs on the day. Riley Donovan poked a three-run triple in the finale to finish the series 6-for-11 with a grand slam, three doubles, 11 RBIs and eight runs scored, and Lauren Quirke wrapped up the weekend at 6-for-12 with six RBIs and six runs.

The Raiders (15-1 overall, 3-0 CCC) scored 53 runs in the series and outscored Bushnell (2-12, 0-3) a combined 26-0 in the first innings alone. They’ve won 18 straight head-to-head meetings over the Beacons dating back to 2017.

SOU received two more solid starts from Gabby Sandoval (8-0) and Hannah Stark (2-0), too. Both pitched complete games, Sandoval didn’t allow a run until the fifth inning, and Stark struck out five in her first start of the season.

Sandoval’s win was the 98th of her career, bringing her within two of becoming the ninth player in NAIA history to reach the century mark. She’s won 22 consecutive decisions, and in her last 10 conference games she’s 10-0 with a 1.01 ERA.

Stark went 10 2/3 consecutive innings without allowing a run to start the season before giving one up in the third.

Seniors Hannah Shimek and Allie Stines boosted the lineup from the top, combining for five runs and five RBIs in the doubleheader. Stines’ hitting streak remained active at 14 games.

SOU will stay on the road next weekend with a four-game set at Northwest (Wash.).