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WWU softball improve to 11-0, program’s best start since 2011

Vikings sweep UBC Thunderbirds in home opener doubleheader

Scenes from the Western Washington University women's softball match against the UBC Thunderbirds on Feb. 17, 2024. // Photos courtesy of WWU Athletics

The Western Washington University women’s softball team improved to 11-0 after their victories against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 at Viking Field in Bellingham, Wash. 

The No.18 nationally-ranked Vikings are off to their best start since 2011 and are currently first in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. 

In game one, with runners on first and second, the Vikings were down 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning until outfielder McKenna Crum scored an RBI to make it 3-2. On the same play, utility player Riley Anderson scored on a fielding error to tie the game 3-3. 

Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, the game remained tied at 3-3. Anderson drew a walk and outfielder Rachel Traxler came in as a pinch runner. With two outs, outfielder Taylor Khorrami singled and Traxler advanced to third base due to a muffed throw by UBC. 

With Khorrami and Traxler on second and third, infielder Maleah Andrews drew a walk and on the play UBC threw a wild pitch, allowing Traxler to score the game-winning run. The Vikings won game one 4-3 over UBC. 

“I always just look to find the next base. I kinda knew if anything gets past the catcher, I was going to go,” Traxler said. “In my head, I knew I was going to be aggressive and take it when I got the chance.” 

The Vikings looked to remain perfect in game two of their home opener. 

UBC came out with another hot start, quickly claiming a 2-0 lead after the first two innings. Heading into the bottom of the third inning, infielder Ashley Jacobson made sure to get Western on the board. With a .400 batting average, Jacobson scored a three-run double, to put the Vikings up 3-2. 

“I love helping my team out. Especially with [Alli Kimball] throwing great out there, I knew we needed to support her a little bit and get her runs so she could kinda settle in,” Jacobson said. “I just wanted to back up my teammates and help us get going.”

In the top of the fourth inning, Khorrami scored an RBI to put the Vikings up 4-2. UBC scored a run in the top of the fifth inning to make it 4-3. With a close game heading into the final two innings, Head Coach Sheryl Gilmore opted to go with pinch hitters Emily McCutcheon and Emma Andrewjeski.

McCutcheon and Andrewjeski each scored an RBI and catcher Emily Paulson added another, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the Vikings up 7-3. 

“One of the strengths of our team is our depth. … We’re always looking to get different players on our team an opportunity to come in and contribute,” Gilmore said. “They do a good job of staying ready for that opportunity and capitalizing on it.” 

Western defeated UBC 7-3 in game two of their home opener. 

The Vikings’ next games are on Feb. 23 and 24 against Saint Martin’s University and Western Oregon University at Saints Field in Lacey, Wash.

Aiden Luhr

Aiden Luhr is a junior at Western and a sports reporter for The Front. He is a journalism news/editorial major and enjoys anything sports related. You can reach him at

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