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Raiders dominate against Northwest in doubleheader

ASHLAND — The 14th-ranked Southern Oregon softball team dominated another doubleheader against Northwest (Wash.) on Saturday, winning 9-1 in six innings and 9-1 in five to finish off a four-game sweep at University Field.

In the Raiders’ eighth and ninth consecutive victories, shortstop Kelsey Randall started and finished the day on memorable notes. In the first inning of Game 1, the senior leadoff hitter cleared the fence in right field for a solo home run – her first out of the yard since her freshman season, and her first ever in Ashland – and in the fifth inning of Game 2, Katrina Winterburn’s sacrifice fly brought Randall home for the 200th run of her career, making her the first Raider ever to reach that milestone and triggering the mercy rule.

The Raiders went to 23-7 overall and 7-2 in the Cascade Conference. During the series, they outscored the Eagles (7-18, 1-8) by a margin of 33-5. During their win streak, they’ve outscored opponents 101-22.

Sophomore pitchers Gabby Sandoval and Karlee Coughlin were the beneficiaries of more heavy hitting. In the opener – which was the third and final CCC contest of the series – Sandoval went all six innings, allowed five hits, didn’t issue a walk and was one strikeout short of matching a career high with eight. She improved to 11-3 and won her fourth straight decision. In Game 2, Coughlin (4-2) needed just 61 pitches to get through all five innings. She gave up five hits and shut the Eagles out through the first four frames.

Two batters after Randall’s home run, Harlee Donovan launched a towering shot over the fence in straightaway center for her fourth homer of the season. She went 2-for-3, later adding an RBI single, and Olivia Mackey went 3-for-3 for the second time in as many days to finish 8-for-11 in the series.

Donovan extended her hitting streak to 11 games, and center fielder Hannah Wessel took hers to 10. Wessel doubled and scored early in Game 1, and she ended it in the sixth inning with a lined two-run triple.

After totaling 14 hits in the opener, the Raiders had 11 more in Game 2. Randall had two more, going 4-for-6 with a pair of walks on the day, and hit a pair of run-scoring singles. The Raiders scored four times after loading the bases with no one out in a second inning that Wessel started with a double: Hannah Shimek drove in a run on a fielder’s choice, Donovan blooped a two-run single, and Rebecca Velasquez hit an RBI double.

Tayler Walker and Velasquez both went 2-for-3. Shimek added another RBI hit, giving her 27 RBI on the season – second on the team only to Donovan’s 32.

Randall finished 7-for-10 in the series and needs just seven more hits to reach 300 for her career. Before she came along, SOU’s career runs record was 103 and the hits record was 171.