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SOU sweeps Corban, locks up CCC’s No. 2 seed

ASHLAND — Momentum remains on Southern Oregon’s side heading into the playoffs after the 10th-ranked Raiders completed the regular season with two more wins over Corban, 9-6 and 9-0 on Saturday at University Field.

In a come-from-behind Game 1 victory, Ashton Cathey blasted a three-run home run and Sarah Kerling lined an inside-the-park grand slam during the bottom of the fourth inning, helping the Raiders counter six unearned Warriors runs in the top half that put them down 6-2. In Game 2, Riley Donovan put the finishing touches on her player-of-the-year campaign with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs.

The Raiders (46-10 overall, 24-6 Cascade Conference) locked up the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the CCC Championships presented by U.S. Bank, which is set for next Friday through Saturday in Klamath Falls. Oregon Tech captured the regular-season title to earn hosting rights, finishing a sweep of Bushnell while Eastern Oregon lost its grip on first place with a loss at Carroll (Mont.).

SOU will bring a 17-game winning streak to the tournament, the second-longest in team history. Corban wrapped the regular season at 19-33 overall and 12-18 in conference play but still landed the sixth and final playoff spot.

Cayla Williams got the Game 1 start in the circle and exited after a barrage of unearned runs, the result of four Corban hits, two walks and one costly Raider error. Madison Wyllie had the big blow in the inning with a three-run double before reliever Mayze Menefee put out the fire.

Menefee ultimately earned the win, her sixth, after Cathey and Kerling came through with contrasting round-trippers. She struck out four in 3 1/3 frames, allowing two hits.

Cathey’s home run was her 12th, and Donovan added her 17th in Game 2 while bringing her NAIA-leading RBI total to 83 — a new SOU single-season record. She made a winner out of Katie Machado, who improved to 14-3 with five innings of one-hit relief. Machado struck out five and walked one.

Deja Acosta went 4-for-7 on the day and scored three runs. Donovan finished the series 6-for-9 with seven walks and nine RBIs.

The Raiders have finished top-two in the standings six consecutive seasons.

On Monday, they’ll learn if they’ve been selected as one of 10 hosts for the NAIA World Series Opening Round.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune SOU's Riley Donovan, seen here in a file photo, pushed her NAIA-leading RBI total to 83 on Saturday, setting a new single-season school record in the process.