PORTLAND, Ore. -- Entering Friday, Lewis & Clark junior Kalin Rooney had been one of the hottest pitchers in the Northwest Conference over the last two weeks. As a result, the Pioneers had won five of their last six games.
On Friday against Puget Sound, Rooney allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings, one more run than she had given up in her prior 20 1/3 innings, over which she posted a 0.44 ERA. With the Pios trailing 2-0, Rooney was replaced by freshman Sarah Reyes.
Reyes proceeded to throw her fifth straight appearance without giving up more than one run, as Lewis & Clark came-from-behind to win 5-3 at Huston Sports Complex. The win completed Lewis & Clark's four-game sweep of a series that was originally supposed to start on Mar. 12, was played over 28 days, three separate dates and in two states. The Pios won 5-3 as the home team in Tacoma, Wash. on Mar. 20 before winning a pair on Mar. 31 in Portland.
For the Pioneers as of late, it has been good to have options in the circle, as Lewis & Clark has now won six of its last seven games.
"Sarah's been outstanding," said Lewis & Clark head coach Shawna Cyrus. "She has three wins in the last couple weekends after zero before that. As a freshman, she needed to get her feet wet and get comfortable because that is her.
"[Puget Sound was] really playing their game and hit us pretty good. They earned everything. When you play a scrappy team like that, you have to be on your toes because they'll come out. They played that way."
The Loggers scored the two runs off of Rooney in the second inning when Haley Gray hit an RBI double to right center field and Jaci Young singled to center field to score Gray. In the fourth, Erica Gott hit her fifth home run of the season, and Puget Sound led 3-0. It was the second straight game that the Loggers jumped out to an early lead. In the second game on Mar. 31, Young hit a grand slam to give the Loggers a 4-1 advantage in the second inning.
Both times, the Pios came back to win.
On Friday, Hannah Dal Pra followed back-to-back singles by Emily Drevdahl and Jenai Rojo with a bunt in front of the plate to score Drevdahl from third. Two batters later, Tiana Rosario reached on a fielder's choice and Holly Hale, who was pinch running for Rojo, scored.
Lewis & Clark took the lead in the sixth, scoring four runs. Drevdahl once again led off the inning with a single before Rojo reached on an error. After Dal Pra singled to load the bases, Ateisha Norton singled down the leftfield line to score two runs. Ashley Bolick, who was running for Dal Pra, stole third and Norton moved to second before Rosario hit an RBI single through the left side. The Pios increased the lead to 5-3 when Lindsay Yearman grounded out to second base and Norton scored.
Drevdahl, Dal Pra, Norton and Rosario each finished 2 for 3. None of Lewis & Clark's hits were for extra bases, but the Pios pieced together more runs to add to their NWC-leading scoring offense.
"That's been our whole season, scratching and clawing for as many runs as we can get," said Reyes (3-2), who threw five innings, allowed three hits and one run with three walks and two strikeouts. "We've put ourselves in this situation a couple times before and I know we have the ability to come back."
"They're a good team, and when they relax and trust their game, that's when they catch on fire," said Cyrus about her team's offense.
Fire indeed, as the Pios swept their first conference series since 2014 and moved into a wins-and-losses tie with Willamette in the NWC standings, two games out of the top four, which will be chosen for the NWC postseason tournament. Lewis & Clark owns the tiebreaker with Willamette after winning three of four against the Bearcats last weekend.
One of the three teams ahead of Lewis & Clark in the standings is Pacific, which plays a four-game series at Huston Sports Complex on Saturday and Sunday. Pacific is 11-9, tied with Pacific Lutheran and George Fox for third place.