No. 11 Redlands Softball Falls to No. 5 Azusa Pacific in Season Opener
The No. 11 University of Redlands softball team opened the 2012 campaign on Friday night with a non-conference doubleheader against the NAIA's fifth-ranked team from Azusa Pacific University. The Bulldogs battled it out against the Cougars but fell short by scores of 2-4 and 1-3 in the evening contests.
Redlands initiated the scoring in the first inning when sophomore shortstop Amanda Clark (Riverside, CA) crossed home plate on an APU error. Clark began her run-scoring effort with a hit by pitch and then stole second. She finally advanced to third on a ground-out.
The Cougars answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, forcing the Bulldogs to play catch-up.
But Azusa Pacific put together another scoring sequence in the fifth, earning a 3-1 advantage over the Maroon and Gray.
Unfortunately, Redlands struggled offensively until sophomore right fielder Amanda Lievanos (Anaheim, CA) unleashed her first home run of the season to start off the sixth inning.
But this was the Bulldogs' final score of the game, resulting in the two-run loss.
Sophomore pitcher Gabrielle Sciuto (Poway, CA) took the opening loss for Redlands, throwing all six innings while scattering eight hits and allowing four runs. The Bulldog defense coughed up three miscues, which accounted for half of the Cougars' runs.
During the nightcap's third inning, the Maroon and Gray once again scored first as junior center fielder Sarah Beeman (Corona, CA) provided a sacrifice fly to plate senior catcher Kai Masutani (Honolulu, HI) from third base. Masutani took advantage of a Cougar error to get on first and then moved to second a sacrifice bunt by Clark. Sophomore left fielder Janelle Carrasco (Corona, CA) stepped up with a hard-hit single to second, advancing her teammate to third base.
Not to be outdone, Azusa Pacific tied it up in the bottom of the fourth. However, back-to-back Redlands errors set up the winning runs in the fifth.
The Bulldogs attempted to tie it up in the seventh, leaving two runners on second and third. But their efforts fell short as APU sat down the next three batters.
Senior pitcher Breanna Ruelas (Brawley, CA) recorded the loss after five innings of work, which included five strikeouts and only one earned run. Sciuto finished out the seventh, striking out two of the final batters.
Redlands (0-2) returns home on Sunday for a two-game tilt against the NAIA's No. 8 Concordia University – Irvine, beginning at 11 a.m. at the "Softball Field of Dreams."