Raiders stay in conference title hunt

The Southern Oregon University softball team remained in Cascade Conference title contention Tuesday with a sweep of Oregon Tech, 12-8 and 5-3, at University Field.

The Raiders (19-14, 15-5 CC) are in second place, two games behind College of Idaho. The two front-runners meet in a 2 p.m. doubleheader here Friday.

Oregon Tech dropped to 19-18 overall and 9-11 in conference play.

"Obviously those are huge games and thankfully we're at home," said SOU coach Kim Fritts. "We need to come out and give 100 percent. We have to have our 'A' game."

The Raiders wasted little time in jumping on the Owls in Game 1. In the second inning, a single by designated hitter Katie Moy was followed by a home run from first baseman Bailey Price.

After shortstop Justine Fulton and second baseman Joelle Riekeman singled, left fielder Strohm Fouty slugged an inside-the-park home run to give the Raiders a 5-0 lead.

"I thought I would get a bunt sign," Price said of her at-bat, "but coach had me hit away, and I tried to make as solid of contact as I could."

OIT came back with three third-inning runs, but SOU again employed the long ball in its half of the third.

Moy singled and Fulton belted a homer for two of the Raiders' three runs in the frame.

"I think they (home runs) are something to get you going," said Fritts. "It pumps all the girls up."

The Raiders tacked on another three-spot in the fourth. A two-run double from center fielder Meghan Laughlin and an RBI single from pitcher Jordyn Kurtz made it 11-4 heading into the fifth.

Kurtz won her 17th game, giving up 11 hits and striking out five.

"We obviously had some chances with runners left on base to make both games closer," Owls coach Greg Stewart said. "You never expect to get a lot of two-out hits."

The Raiders' run production continued into the next game. They scored three in the second inning, getting a double from Moy to start things off. A fielder's choice and an error brought in SOU's first run, and Fouty knocked in the second run with a single, scoring Fulton. Danielle Stratton then came in on another fielder's choice.

"I feel like I came out with a lot more confidence," Fouty said. "We have a really good one-two-three combo in the lineup."

Moy doubled again in the third and scored the eventual winning run on a Stratton single.

Kurtz (18-13) got out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to notch the win. She allowed eight hits and fanned four.

Moy was 6-for-7 in the twin bill. Fouty was 5-for-7 with four RBIs and added a stolen base to raise her school record to 35 for the season.

Now comes College of Idaho, which swept SOU in a doubleheader April 11, 12-1 and 6-0, in Caldwell, Idaho.

"I think we're really excited and we want to redeem ourselves after last time," said Price. "We can play much better than we did."

Southern Oregon ends the regular season with two games at home against Eastern Oregon on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m.

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