Jeremy Druffel had three hits and singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and Whitworth beat Willamette 3-2 in Salem on Sunday to win the outright Northwest Conference regular-season title.
Tenth-ranked Whitworth (25-8, 17-7) took a series win from Willamette (18-18, 10-13) and finished two games ahead of second-place Pacific Lutheran.
It’s the Pirates’ first regular-season title since 2012, and first-ever outright since joining NCAA Division III. Whitworth will host the NWC tournament next weekend.
The Bearcats scored two runs in the first inning. Whitworth tied the game in the seventh on JT Phelan’s two-out, two-run homer. Druffel then came through with a run-scoring single in the eighth.
T.J. Orchard (6-1) went eight innings, giving up nine hits and a walk and striking out four. Tim Bever gave up one hit in the ninth to pick up his first save.
San Francisco 5, Gonzaga 3: Brady Bate slugged a three-run homer in a four-run third inning for the host Dons (12-26, 7-8 WCC), who went on to win and take two of three games in the series from the Bulldogs (21-12, 10-5).
Calvin LeBrun (2-2), who came in on a 12 2/3-inning scoreless streak as a reliever, made his first start and took the loss, giving up all five runs on five hits and two walks.
The Bulldogs are still tied for first place with BYU and Saint Mary’s.
Washington 7, UCLA 4: Chris Baker hit a grand slam and the Huskies (19-12, 9-6) went on to beat the Bruins (15-18, 6-9) in Seattle for their first series win over UCLA since 2005.
Whitworth 9-0, Linfield 0-19: Shannon Wessel hit a three-run home run and Makayla Lefever (18-3) pitched her second straight complete game to lift the Pirates (28-11, 20-8) to a victory over the visiting Wildcats in the opener of a doubleheader, clinching a second straight Northwest Conference regular-season title. Linfield (26-13, 18-10) cruised to a five-inning win in the second game.
Wessel finished with four RBIs and Morgan Portlock hit two doubles, including one for three RBIs. Chelsey Hayes added four hits. Lefever gave up eight hits and a walk while striking out three.
The Wildcats needed to sweep the doubleheader to catch Whitworth in the standings. The Pirates will host next week’s NWC tournament and play fourth-seeded Pacific in Friday’s first game. Linfield and George Fox will round out the field.
NWAC Crossover: North Idaho College rebounded from a 3-2 loss to Clackamas earlier in the day to rout Clark 23-2 in Yakima. Abby Howard had a homer, double and five RBIs in the win while Emily Aspden had three hits and scored four runs with Lexi Courtney getting three hits, including two doubles, to go along with three RBIs.
Also at the tournament, CC Spokane dropped 11-3 decisions to Olympic and Centralia.
Washington State’s varsity eight and second varsity eight finished second to Ohio State in their final heats at the Clemson Invitational on Lake Hartwell in South Carolina.
WSU’s varsity four boat took fifth and its third varsity eight was third.
Idaho’s men took seventh place at the Hawkeye Invitational at Finkbine GC in Iowa City, Iowa, with a three-round total of 10-over 874. Kansas won at 15 under.
Daniel Sutton was the Vandals’ top finisher, placing in a three-way tie for 10th at 1-under 215, nine strokes behind medalist Ruben Sondjaja of Iowa State.
The Whitworth women’s team also finished third at 77 over. Lewis & Clark won at 38 over. Pacific Lutheran was second. Michal Schuster finished fourth at 14 over with Whitworth teammate Chelsea Bayley another stroke back in a two-way tie. Mady Rhodenbaugh of Lewis & Clark was medalist at 5 over.
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