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Donovan breaks SOU HR record in sweep

Shortly after breaking Southern Oregon’s single-season home run record, Riley Donovan celebrated with a second trip around the bases Thursday at Lithia & Driveway Fields.

The ninth-ranked Raiders’ power was on full display again while Cayla Williams and Katie Machado delivered back-to-back shutouts in 3-0 and 9-0 wins against Carroll (Mont.) in Cascade Conference play. In addition to Donovan’s lasers over the fence — one in each game, her 13th and 14th of 2022 — Williams and Phelicity Fa’aita both went deep in Game 2 to end the contest in six innings.

The Raiders extended their winning streak to seven games, making them 36-10 overall and 17-6 in the CCC entering Friday’s twin bill against the Saints, which has been moved back to University Field in Ashland thanks to an improved forecast. First pitch is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Donovan supplanted her sister Harlee Donovan atop the SOU record book with her first homer of the day, a lined two-run shot to left field in the first inning of Game 1. Her second blast — another two-run job that put the Raiders up 5-0 in the fourth inning of Game 2 — brought her within one home run of Harlee’s SOU career record of 23. It also gave her a one-homer lead on this season’s NAIA leaderboard.

Williams’ third consecutive shutout in Game 1 made her 11-2. She struck out three and worked around six free passes in a five-hitter. The junior from San Jose, Calif., also added a sacrifice fly against her opponent in the circle, Abby Hanley.

Hanley got another start in Game 2, and Williams greeted her with her sixth home run in the first inning. In the sixth, Fa’aita’s seventh home run to the opposite field plated three Raiders and triggered the eight-run rule. Rylan Austin added an RBI double and Deja Acosta had an RBI single in the outing.

Machado’s outing was her best of the month and made her 12-3. She struck out three and allowed four hits with no walks in her team-leading 10th complete game.

Fa’aita and Williams finished with three hits apiece and Donovan scored three runs. The trio’s home runs brought the Raiders’ total to 42 on the season, three away from matching the 2012 team’s SOU record.

The Saints fell to 12-26 overall and 9-16 in the CCC.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSOU's Riley Donovan, shown in action last season, connected for her 13th and 14th home runs this season to break the program’s single-season record.