The University of Redlands softball team took on the No. 10 Linfield College Wildcats in today's in-region doubleheader at the Softball Field of Dreams. Despite blasting off three home runs over the twin bill, the Bulldogs struggled to shut down the Wildcats' more prolific offense en route to a pair of losses by scores of 3-10 and 2-4.
During the opener, Redlands immediately jumped on the board in the bottom of the first inning when junior catcher Lali Garza (Granite Bay, CA) uncorked a two-run dinger over the left-field fence to plate senior third baseman Summer Smith (Redlands, CA), who had launched a single to center field with two outs.
Sophomore pitcher Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) was lights out from the circle, allowing just one hit over the first three frames.
In the bottom of the third, the Bulldogs tacked on another run for a 3-0 advantage over Linfield. This time, Smith drove one out of the park for her second home run of the young season.
Unfortunately for Redlands, the Wildcats put up a crooked number that was aided by two errors to give the visitors a 7-3 lead in the top of the fifth.
The Bulldog bats went quiet for the remainder of the game, earning just two more hits, while Linfield added three additional runs for the 10-3 final.
During the second game, the early roles reversed, as Linfield scored twice in the top of the first and the second for an early 4-0 lead.
Nonetheless, the Maroon and Gray showed great grit and desire to battle back, with key plays sprinkled throughout the game. Sophomore pitcher Mika Imoto (Vista, CA) settled down in the circle to allow only three hits over the next three innings, with one resulting in an out on a sweet defensive play. After Linfield barreled a deep shot to center field, the runner tried to stretch it into a double. But senior center-fielder Amanda Ang (Santa Cruz, CA) made a sliding stop on her knees before firing the ball to junior short stop Ursyla Baumgarten (Penngrove, CA), who connected with Garza to tag out the creeping runner.
In the top of the sixth, Smith and Garza teamed up for another great offensive production. After Smith's single up the middle, Garza belted out her second home run of the day to cut the Bulldogs' deficit in half.
The Bulldog defense continued to step up to provide great support for Imoto, as highlighted by a double play between Smith and Garza on the hot corners. In addition, Baumgarten snagged a line-out to end the inning.
However, the Bulldogs mustered only one hit in the final half-inning, resulting in the 2-4 loss.
Smith finished the day with a 4-for-6 showing with three runs and one RBI, while Garza went 3-for-6 with two runs and four RBI.
Redlands (2-4) opens Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition on Saturday, February 25, against the Whittier College Poets. First pitch is set for 12 noon at the Field of Dreams.