Complete Series Win Earns NNU Softball Team Of The Week
Northwest Nazarene earned three wins last week to remain at the top of the GNAC standings. Two of those games were complete games in the circle.
Northwest Nazarene earned three wins last week to remain at the top of the GNAC standings. Two of those games were complete games in the circle.

Monday, April 10, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. – Northwest Nazarene continues to reign at the top of the conference softball standings after taking three of four games from Western Washington to earn GNAC Team of the Week honors.

The Nighthawks opened the series with a pair of 3-2 wins on Friday. In the series opener, NNU captured the lead in the third inning when senior Maia McNicoll launched a solo home run over the center field fence. McNicoll doubled the lead in the sixth inning with an RBI single to score senior Tori Hensley from second after Hensley stole second base.

After Western Washington battled back in the top of the seventh to tie the score, patience in the batter’s box proved to be the final decision maker. The Nighthawks drew four walks in the final inning, including one for the final run of the game with junior Sidney Booth working a 0-1 count into a walk with the bases loaded to win the opener. Booth also earned the win in the circle, throwing all seven innings while allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits and two walks while striking out six.

It was another complete game victory in the second half of Friday’s doubleheader with Hensley going the distance in the circle. Hensley allowed two runs on nine hits while striking out four. Those two runs came in the first frame, after which Northwest Nazarene chipped away at the deficit with single-run innings in the second, third and fourth to take the lead.

The Nighthawks were led by GNAC Softball Player of the Week Clarissa Moreno who finished the series with a .545 batting average with five RBIs, five runs scored with a pair of home runs and a double. She did most of her damage on Saturday where the Vikings failed to collect an out while she was at the plate.

Northwest Nazarene dropped the first game on Saturday 5-2. Moreno went 1 for 1 in the game with a solo shot in the first inning, two walks and was hit by a pitch. In the series finale, the Nighthawks brought out the big bats to take a 9-1, 6 inning, victory to win the series. Moreno was a key part of the victory, crushing a three-run homer in the fourth inning and drawing four walks.

McNicoll put together another strong performance as well, going 2 for 3 with four RBIs including a double and a walk. Hensley picked up her second win of the week in the series finale. Hensley threw five innings and allowed one run on five hits and one walk while striking out three batters and throwing just 67 pitches.

“As a team, we do our best to improve every week,” head coach Rich Wagner said. “I felt like we did a great job of making adjustments and bouncing back. Our goal is to be playing our best softball in May.”

Northwest Nazarene will be on the road this week as it faces Central Washington in Ellensburg with doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.