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RAIDER ROUNDUP: SOU clinches third straight CCC title outright

SOU Sports Information

HELENA, Mont. — With three games to spare, the No. 1-ranked Southern Oregon University softball team claimed the Cascade Conference regular-season title outright Saturday with a five-inning, 10-0 win over Carroll (Mont.) that capped a sweep of the CCC portion of their series at Centennial Park.

The Saints took the non-conference finale, 6-5, with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and Kaitlynn Ayers’ walk-off, two-run double.

They ended SOU’s winning streak at 16 games, and pitcher Gabby Sandoval’s consecutive-decisions-won streak at 36, but the promise of another banner made that trivia moot.

The Raiders (41-3 overall, 23-1 CCC) are the first CCC team to win three consecutive regular-season championships since they did it from 2003-05. This particular run has been their most dominant: through 24 games, they’ve outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 220-39.

Game 1 was the 11th of those 23 wins to end with the application of the eight-run mercy rule. Hannah Shimek went 4-for-4 with a double, two stolen bases, three runs scored and three RBIs, and she lined a two-run single as part of SOU’s five-run third inning.

Sandoval earned her 22nd win in the clincher with her 10th shutout of the season, a three-hitter with two strikeouts and two walks. Her streak of consecutive CCC decisions won is active at 23; she’s 16-0 this season in such games with a 1.15 ERA.

Lauren Quirke and Allie Stines drove in two runs apiece, and Avery Morehead-Hutsell and Katrina Winterburn both added two hits.

In Game 2, RBI doubles from Stines, Riley Donovan and Jordan Henderson got the Raiders out to a 4-0 lead, and Winterburn’s run-scoring single made it 5-0 in the fifth.

The Saints (13-28, 7-17) got three runs back in the bottom of the fifth. That prompted Sandoval to replace Quirke, and she retired the side in order in the sixth before Carroll loaded the bases with no outs on a single and two walks in the seventh.

After Amber Brewer’s sacrifice fly pulled the Saints within a run, Ayers’ one-out double ended it.

Just two of Quirke’s runs were earned in her five innings of work. At the plate, she finished the series 12-for-17 with 11 RBIs and eight runs scored after smacking five extra-base hits Friday.

Stines ended the series 9-for-13 with eight runs and six RBIs.

The Raiders will conclude the regular season at home next Friday and Saturday against Corban. Then it’s on to the CCC Tournament, which will take place May 7-9 in Ashland.

Men’s Basketball

SOUTHERN OREGON 81, WARNER PACIFIC 60: At Ashland, Southern Oregon sharpened up defensively and limited Warner Pacific to 33-percent shooting to complete its sixth straight regular-season sweep of the Knights.

Junior forward Josh Meyer rung up his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. He shot 6-of-9 from the field and knocked down three of SOU’s 12 3-pointers.

The Raiders (5-4 overall, 5-3 Cascade Conference), who pulled out Friday’s 73-65 win over WPU (5-8, 3-5) in the final minutes, never trailed in the rematch. They shot 50 percent from the field in the second half, where they outscored the Knights 43-31.

Junior guard Jake Virga totaled 13 points, hit 3-of-6 from beyond the arc, dished out four assists and had two steals. Freshman guard Mason Whittaker added 12 points and five rebounds, and junior Tez Allen filled up the box score with nine points, seven assists and six rebounds.

The Raiders committed just 11 turnovers, their lowest total in four games.

Elijah Jackson contributed nine points on 4-of-6 shooting off the bench, including five quick ones after the Knights trimmed their deficit to seven points midway through the second half. Hunter Bradford also scored nine, and he and Brad Allen both connected on two triples. Josh Washington chipped in three blocks.

Track and Field

SOU FINISHES RAIDER INVITE STRONG: At Ashland, Arianna Daniel and Lindsey Bonney put on another show on Day 2 of the Raider Invitational, securing berths at the NAIA Outdoor Championship in the 200-meter race with 'A' standard times at Raider Stadium.

Daniel, Bonney, and Baylee Touey went first-second-third in both the 100 and 200. In the 100, Daniel (12.049) beat Bonney (12.050) by one-thousandth of a second. And in a 21-person field in the 200, Daniel clocked a time of 24.63 seconds and Bonney hit a PR at 24.69. They needed 24.75 or better to become automatic qualifiers, and went to 15th and 17th on the NAIA performance list.

Chris Rosero shined in the men's sprints with wins in the 100 (10.92) and 200 (21.80), shooting to No. 1 on the Cascade Conference performance list in the latter event. AJ Sandvig won the men's 800 in 1:56.20 among a 17-person field.

Junior Jacob Williams took over another CCC in the high jump. He cleared 6 feet 6 inches - just two off a top-five mark in SOU history - and won the five-person competition with Josh Washington third at 6-2.

In the women's field, sophomore KiAshe Hobby won the shot put with a season-best of 39-11 ½ and was runner-up in the discus with a PR of 133-2.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSOU's Gabby Sandoval, seen here during a doubleheader against College of Idaho, and the Raiders clinched a third straight Cascade Conference regular-season title Saturday with a win over Carroll College in Montana.