Western Oregon Wins GNAC Title, Bridjet Box MVP
Play Video Western Oregon defeated Central Washington 20-9 to win the GNAC Softball Championships title.
Western Oregon defeated Central Washington 20-9 to win the GNAC Softball Championships title.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

RICHLAND, Wash. - Western Oregon spotted Central Washington a 7-0 lead, but then scored eight runs in the second inning and roared back to beat the Wildcats 20-9 to win their second Great Northwest Athletic Conference softball title Saturday at Columbia Playfield.

The Wolves, who also won the GNAC title in 2008, now advance to the NCAA West Regionals next weekend.  The regionals will be played as two four-team sub-regionals with the top two ranked teams each hosting. 

Five at-large teams will join Western Oregon and the champions of the PacWest and CCAA conferences in the tournament.  Dixie State earned the PacWest automatic berth, while the CCAA will decide its champion Sunday.

Central Washington and Western Washington were ranked seventh and eighth in this week's regional poll.

The qualifiers and host sites will be revealed Monday morning at 7 a.m. on a ncaa.com web broadcast.

WOU catcher Bridjet Box was named the tournament MVP.  Box led the tournament in batting (.750) and home runs (3) and tied Central Washington's Jill McDaniel and Kailyn Campbell for the most RBI with seven.

In the championship game, Box tied the GNAC single-game record for home runs with three.  The only other player in GNAC history to hit three home runs in a game was Samantha Petrich of Central Washington against Montana State Billings on May 2, 2010.

After CWU scored seven runs in the opening inning, including two on a double by Campbell, the Wolves put together six hits, including a grand slam home run by Jourdan Williams, for eight runs in the top of the second. 

Box homered in the third, fourth and sixth innings.  The latter two came with a man aboard.   Amanda Evola and Ashlie Gardner also went deep; Evola with two on board in the third and Gardner with two on in the sixth.

WOU's six home runs tied a GNAC single-game record.  The Wolves had 39 total bases, one shy of the GNAC record, on their 21 hits.

Both Evola and Box finished the contest with five RBI.  Five players had three hits each for WOU -- Box, Evola, Kelsie Gardner, Danielle Harcourt and designated hitter Raina Reece.

Williams (7-1) picked up the win in relief, allowing just four hits and two runs over the final five innings.

First baseman Maikala Galusha led Central Washington with three hits and three RBI.  Lead-off hitter Sammy Morris, Campbell and third baseman Andrea Hamada each had two hits.

Western Oregon will take a 33-21 into the regional.  In its only previous regional appearance in 2008 were the sixth seed, but won its first three games before losing twice to champion Humboldt State by 1-0 and 9-0 scores.

Central Washington fell to 30-18 with its loss.