The University of Redlands softball team hosted the Poets of Whittier College in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader on a chilly Saturday at the Field of Dreams. Amidst a back-and-forth battle in game one, the Bulldogs came up just short in a 6-7 decision. Nonetheless, the Maroon and Gray bounced back in the nightcap with 14 hits that led to a 10-8 victory over the Poets.
In the opener, first-year center fielder Samantha Rivas (Whittier, CA) set the tone early with a leadoff home run before senior shortstop Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA) tripled to right center to set up another scoring opportunity. Senior first baseman Olivia Vierra (Burlingame, CA) took full advantage by roping a single through the right side for the easy RBI.
However, the Poets quickly answered by stringing together three hits for three runs in the top of the second.
Redlands responded as well by earning three runs on three hits in the bottom of the frame. Skrzynski produced another multi-bag hit with an RBI-double, while senior designated player Shandell Curtis (Upland, CA) brought her home on a long single down the right-field line. Finally, sophomore left fielder Jaci Sanchez (Lakewood, CA) plated Curtis on a double to the fence.
With a 5-3 lead, the Bulldogs gave up another crooked number in the top of the third but pulled one back with an RBI-single by junior catcher Nova Siegel (Fairfield, CA) in the bottom half of the frame.
However, the Poets pushed one more across in the fourth with two outs off an error and back-to-back singles to go ahead by a score of 7-6.
Both offenses sputtered in the remaining innings. Despite putting runners on, neither managed another score, resulting in the Bulldogs' difficult loss.
Skrzynski and Siegel each provided two hits for the Bulldogs.
During the second contest, Redlands wasted little time in producing runs and successfully scored five in the bottom of the first. Siegel stepped up with a two-RBI-single, while junior second baseman Jordyn Smith (Highland, CA) walked in a run with the bases loaded. Senior third baseman Lali Garza (Granite Bay, CA) split the defense with a sharp single through the left side for two more runs and the Bulldogs' 5-0 lead.
After the Poets managed two runs of their own, Redlands went back to work at the plate in the bottom of the second. Skrzynski stayed hot with a leadoff single, while Siegel kept it rolling with a two-out single up the middle. Sanchez rocketed a bases-clearing triple to the fence in left field before Smith uncorked a double to nearly the same spot, which allowed Sanchez to score for the Bulldogs' 8-2 lead.
However, the Poets remained persistent with a three-spot in the top of the third to make it a three-run game. Redlands expanded its lead to back to five with a Smith sacrifice fly and an RBI-groundout by Garza.
Over the next three innings, first-year pitcher Jocelyn Hernandez (Downey, CA) allowed just two hits and no runs, as she relied on solid play from her defense.
Regardless, Whittier managed to score three in the top of the seventh, forcing Hernandez to work out of a bases-loaded jam with two outs. She answered by recording her fourth strikeout of the day for the win from the circle.
Smith provided three RBI, which came off a double, sacrifice fly, and walk. Garza added three RBI as well, while Siegel connected on 4-for-4 hitting for two RBI and two runs.
Redlands (3-7, 2-2 SCIAC) looks forward to hosting the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens on Friday, March 2, at 12 noon for a conference doubleheader at the Field of Dreams.