Dominant Pitching Leads to Leatherneck Sweep Over Delta Devils


ITTA BENA, MS – On Wednesday, a long trip away from Macomb continued for the Leathernecks when they took on Mississippi Valley State in a doubleheader. Western Illinois’ pitching dominated both games, allowing only one run apiece.

In game one, the WIU bats came out swinging, as leadoff hitter Malia Robertson hit a single before immediately stealing second base, her OVC-leading fifth swipe of the season. After advancing to third, she scored on a sac fly to give the Leathernecks an early lead. Bella Alvarez, who finished the doubleheader going 5-6 at the plate, singled in the frame before the Leathernecks headed to the bottom of the first.

Freshman Lillie Wools got the start in game one, and after allowing one run on three hits in the first inning, was absolute nails the rest of the way. The Delta Devils could not muster up an inning with more than one hit after the first frame, making the first inning their only with a score. Wools went the distance, pitching a complete-game one-hitter. Her final line: seven innings pitched, seven hits allowed, one earned run, one walk, and eight strikeouts. The complete game was the first of her collegiate career, and she also set a new career high in K’s.

Western started to heat up in the second inning, putting up five runs in the frame thanks to a pair of doubles from Raven Morrison and Valerie Combs to start things off. Then, Malia Robertson hit Western Illinois’ first home run of the year, which was an inside-the-parker. Bella Alvarez smacked a double down the right field line to score Rylee Boone, ending the inning with a 6-1 advantage. Wools fanned all three batters in the second half of the inning to move it to the third inning.

Raven Morrison doubled again in the third, and Combs knocked her in with a single to make it 7-1 after the third.

After a few uneventful innings, Mississippi Valley State nearly got a run back in the bottom of the fifth, as Smith tripled with the bases empty, but was thrown out at home attempting to go for the inside-the-park home run.

Malia Robertson continued to have a day in the sixth inning, hitting a single, then stealing second, and scoring on an error to make it 8-1. In the seventh, Western tacked on four more runs on four hits, as Maria Luna, Megan Leonard, Valerie Combs, and Malia Robertson all recorded a hit to increase the Leatherneck advantage to eleven. Western ended the game, winning 12-1, the largest margin of victory in the season-to-date for WIU.

Robertson finished the game with four hits in five plate appearances, scored three runs, swiped two bags, knocked in three RBIs, and hit the first home run of the Leatherneck season. Her four hits mark a new career high, as well as the two stolen bases and three runs scored. Valerie Combs had a career day as well, going 3-4 from the plate with a single, double, and triple, and a team-season-high 5 RBIs. Combs’ five RBIs are tied for the most by any player in a game in the OVC. Bella Alvarez went 3-4 from the plate and recorded one RBI.

Game two of the doubleheader saw the Leathernecks lead wire-to-wire. Robertson continued to torture MVSU pitching with a lead-off single. She stole second again, her seventh swipe of the season before Gabriela Drager scored her with a single. Bella Alvarez knocked in Drager with a double, ending the inning up 2-0.

Raven Morrison started on the bump for game two. She got out of the first by forcing a double play and groundout after allowing a pair of baserunners. Morrison kept the Delta Devils at bay through four innings of work, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out four batters.

The 2-0 score held until the sixth, when Alvarez’s RBI single scored Sophia Sanchez to increase the lead to three. WIU added two more in the seventh. Abrianna Gracia started it off with a single, before a pair of steals from Megan Leonard and Beth Pavy and a sac fly and reach on error scored both runners.

Emily Price pitched a great three innings to close it for WIU, allowing two hits, two walks, and striking out four as she allowed one unearned run in the seventh. 5-1 was the final score in favor of the Leathernecks. Alvarez had another great game, going 2-3 at the plate with an RBI. After the weekend, Alvarez is now batting .462 on the year, and Malia Robertson boasts a triple slash of .414/.469/.586.

Coming up, Western heads to Murray, KY for a five-game tournament starting this Friday.

Copy Provided by Western Athletics Communications

Submit a Comment