Amidst the festivities of "Strikeout Cancer," the No. 11 University of Redlands softball team captured two wild wins over the visiting Panthers of Chapman University on Sunday, posting scores of 9-7 and 4-3. While raising awareness for Breast Cancer, the teams solicited monetary support from the fans for every strikeout and run scored throughout the twin bill, raising nearly $400 for cancer research.
During the opening game, the Bulldogs harnessed a 7-0 lead after four innings, highlighted by a five-spot in the third. Senior first baseman Rikki Scates (Redlands, CA) initiated the offensive outburst with a two-run homer, connecting on her fourth dinger of the season.
However, the Panthers came storming back in the top of fifth, tying it up on seven hits and three Bulldog miscues.
But Redlands remained composed and determined, scoring two in the bottom of the inning. After junior pitcher Kayla Uphold (Fontana, CA) walked and took second on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore left-fielder Janelle Carrasco (Whittier, CA), sophomore center-fielder Amanda Lievanos (Anaheim, CA) crushed an RBI-single down the left-field line. In addition, Scates reached on a fielder's choice and then crossed home plate on back-to-back Chapman errors.
While helping herself with a 2-for-4 showing that included one RBI and two runs scored, Uphold gained her 13th win of the season from the circle in a complete-game effort. She fanned four Panthers in the process.
The Bulldogs needed nine innings to defeat the Panthers in the night cap, with Scates stepping up with a 2-for-3 performance that included all four of Redlands' RBI in the contest.
The Maroon and Gray held a 2-1 lead going into the sixth inning, but Chapman rallied back to tie it up with an RBI-single by senior designated player C.C. Daly (Pleasant Hill, CA).
The teams traded punches in the seventh to force the extended game. Chapman gained a solo shot from senior catcher Michelle Pitts (Pleasanton, CA), while the Bulldogs worked the runners around with Scates culminating the effort with an RBI-single.
After senior pitcher Breanna Ruelas (Brawley, CA) retired the side in the top of the ninth, Redlands found a way to score once again. With the bases loaded, Scates ripped off a game-winning sacrifice fly to center field, bringing home Uphold for the win.
The top of the order really stepped up for the Bulldogs, as Uphold, Carrasco, Lievanos, and Scates connected on two hits apiece and accounted for all four runs scored.
Ruelas went the distance for her 10th overall win, striking out a season-high nine batters.
Redlands (23-7) returns to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition on Friday when it hosts the Sagehens of Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in a 2 p.m. doubleheader at the "Field of Dreams."