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SOU sweeps Providence, moves magic number to 1

Providence (Mont.) was the latest team without answers for fourth-ranked Southern Oregon’s lineup, which continued to produce at an unprecedented rate and moved within one win of another Cascade Conference championship Friday at University Field.

After banging out wins by scores of 8-0 in six innings and 9-6 — and thanks to Oregon Tech and College of Idaho’s split — the Raiders (38-5 overall, 22-1 CCC) can clinch hosting rights for the CCC Championships presented by U.S. Bank and at least a share of the title with one more this afternoon. Due to rain in the forecast, first pitch of Game 1 (the first of SOU’s four remaining CCC contests) has been moved back to a noon start and the non-conference finale will be played at 2 p.m.

SOU started the day with a .368 team batting average and ripped 23 hits against the Argos (7-22, 7-16), nine of which went for extra bases. Hannah Wessel accounted for three of them as the Raiders ran their conference winning streak to 21 games.

They’ve won 10 straight overall — their second double-digit streak of the season — and scored at least six runs in each of them, averaging 9.4

Gabby Sandoval took full advantage of the support with her 10th shutout in the opener, a one-hitter with eight strikeouts and two walks to improve to 25-2 and 19-0 in CCC play. She also earned her third save in Game 2 after taking over for freshman Jordyn Ragan, who went to 5-0 with five innings of relief in which she struck out seven and allowed three runs with one earned.

In Game 1, Tayler Walker went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and put SOU in front with an RBI hit in the first inning. The Raiders added three runs in the second and two in the third as Wessel tripled, doubled and hit a sacrifice fly in the game, driving in one run in each at-bat.

Paige Leeper went 1-for-2 with two runs scored, while Hannah Shimek and Tiana Brown both went 1-for-3 with a run and an RBI.

The Raiders spotted Providence three runs in the top of the first of Game 2 but got two back in the bottom half with a Lauren Quirke RBI double and Tiana Brown’s infield single. They tied it in the second and scored four in the third, when Brown sliced a two-run single down the right field line before Leeper and Wessel knocked back-to-back run-scoring extra-base hits.

Quirke went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, Brown went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI and Wessel finished 2-for-2.

Five of the first six hitters in Providence’s lineup had two hits apiece: Taylor Mathews, Skyla Nuebauer, Karlie Southworth, Hannah Tarum and McKenzie Staats. Staats doubled twice with three RBI and Tarum totaled two RBI and two runs.

Andy Atkinson / Ashland TidingsSOU’s Paige Leeper makes an out during game 1 Friday afternoon.