The University of Redlands softball team faced off against the Colonials of Western Connecticut State University in a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon. In a pair of tight games, the Bulldogs snagged a 3-2, nine-inning victory in the opener before dropping a 3-5 heartbreaker in the eighth frame of the nightcap.
During the first game, the Bulldogs pushed a run across in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly by senior first baseman Olivia Vierra (Burlingame, CA) for the early 1-0 lead. She plated junior Julieann Rodriguez (Thousand Oaks, CA), who pinch-ran for junior catcher Nova Siegel (Fairfield, CA) after a leadoff single.
Neither team scored for the next two-and-a-half innings, with the Bulldog defense providing solid support for first-year pitcher Jocelyn Hernandez (Downey, CA). In the top of the fourth, Siegel threw down to second to catch the runner stealing for the second out. Hernandez used that momentum to strike out the subsequent batter and put up another zero on the board.
In the bottom of the fifth, senior third baseman Lali Garza (Granite Bay, CA) stepped up with a two-out single and later scored on first-year center fielder Samantha Rivas' (Whittier, CA) double down the right-field line.
Redlands owned a 2-0 lead with six outs to go, but the Colonials dug deep to score twice in the top of the sixth on a bases-clearing double.
With the game tied, the teams headed into extras, with Western Connecticut loading the bases in the top of the eighth. After sophomore pitcher Nicole Stanzione (San Marcos, CA) replaced Hernandez in the circle, she counted on her defense to escape the jam, as Garza blocked a hard-hit grounder and fired it home for the fielder's choice out.
In the bottom of the ninth, Siegel led off with a single before Vierra answered the call with one out. She blasted a double to center field for the game-winning, walk-off RBI.
Stanzione earned her first win of the season in just her second appearance.
During the nightcap, the teams battled through a pitchers' duel through the first two-and-a-half innings, as each squad registered just one hit.
In the bottom of the third, the Maroon and Gray looked to Seigel to crush a two-out single and move to second on Garza's walk. Vierra once again impressed at the plate with a double down the left-field line, scoring both runs for the Bulldogs' 2-0 lead.
Junior pitcher Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) used that cushion to retire the side in order in the top of the fourth inning.
Redlands tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth off a walk, stolen base, and a Colonial miscue.
However, in the top of the seventh, WCSU tied it up on a three-run shot over the left-center fence with two outs to send this one into extra innings as well.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs struggled in the eighth and gave up two runs for the loss.
Overall, Vierra finished the day with two hits and four RBI, while Siegel knocked three hits and scored two runs.
Redlands (5-11, 3-5 SCIAC) welcomes the Panthers of Chapman University to the Field of Dreams on Saturday, March 17, at 12 noon for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader.