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Boxers bounce back with four straight wins

SOFTBALL: Pacific sweeps past Northwest Christian and Corban to make it six straight wins

Pacific continued to erase memories of its rough start by sweeping a pair of softball doubleheaders from Corban and Northwest Christian to run its win streak to six games.

The Boxers (6-4) dropped a four-game set against Whitworth to open the season, but have found their stride since then. Last Thursday the team rolled to a pair of convincing non-conference wins over Northwest Christian, then followed that up with a sweep of Corban on Saturday.

'It was a solid all-around performance both offensively and defensively, with continued improvement from our pitching staff,' said Pacific head coach Tim Hill. 'There are specific areas of our game that we're still looking to improve, but I am quite pleased with our players' efforts to bring their game to a higher level.'

Pacific turned to two of its experienced leaders on Thursday to get past Northwest Christian. Sophomore Kristen Croxford went 3 for 4 in the first game, a 9-2 Pacific win, and junior catcher Caitlin Mastenbroek went 3 for 4 with a home run in the nightcap, a 7-0 shutout victory.

Staked to a 2-0 lead in Game 1, Pacific erupted for five runs in the fifth on a bases-loaded walk and a pair of two-run singles from Brooke Fogwell and Kim Whittaker. Freshman Kristin Larkins smacked a two-run home run in the seventh to cap the blowout.

Freshman Miranda McNealy earned the win for Pacific, striking out 10 and allowing just two hits in six innings of work.

In the nightcap, Pacific went ahead 4-0 on Larkins' RBI single in the third, then tacked on three more runs in the fourth on an RBI double from Croxford and a two-run bomb from Mastenbroek.

Andrea Bansen started on the mound and went three innings before giving way to freshman Heather Ritenour, who got the win with four innings of solid relief work.

The Boxers added two more blowout wins on Saturday against Corban to continue their win streak. Pacific took Game 1 by a score of 7-1, then routed the Warriors 11-0 in Game 2.

Pacific's trio of McNealy, Bansen and Ritenour limited Corban to just eight hits and one unearned run in 12 innings on Saturday. McNealy dominated the first game, striking out 15 in a complete game three-hitter. Bansen and Ritenour combined to throw a five-hitter in the second game.

Offensively, Fogwell and freshman shortstop Alicia Hawes each went 1 for 3 with a pair of RBIs in Game 1.

The second game was a blowout from the outset, with Pacific scoring eight runs in the first inning. Fogwell and Walters singled home three runs, and freshman Jesse Garcia roped an RBI double. Ritenour would add a two-run double of her own before Croxford capped the frame with a two-run homer. Larkins mashed a two-run shot in the fifth - her third home run of the season - to make it 11-0.

The Boxers have a busy week coming up, with a road trip to California for the SunWest Tournament. Pacific will face Cal State East Bay, Tufts, Williams, Chapman and Cal Lutheran in a four-day span.