The University of Redlands softball team took on the Panthers of Chapman University in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader on Saturday. The Bulldogs dropped game one by a final of 3-13, but the bats came alive in game two as Redlands walked off in five innings by a final score of 9-1.
The opener began with Chapman jumping out to an early three-run lead, but the Bulldogs answered right back by capitalizing on a very costly Panther fielding error.
The 2-3 score stood still until Chapman pushed across a run in the fourth, but Redlands again immediately responded in the bottom half of the inning. Senior first baseman Olivia Vierra (Burlingame, CA) led off the inning with a booming home run down the left-field line. It was the first round-tripper of Vierra's career and put the Bulldogs back within one run at 3-4.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs surrendered three runs in the fifth and six more in the top of the seventh, which led to the 10-run defeat.
However, the Bulldogs worked to bounce back in the nightcap, with junior pitcher Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) in the circle for the start. She stepped up huge for her team and hurled a complete-game, one-run victory while only allowing three hits and one walk on a mere 52 pitches in five innings.
The Bulldogs wasted no time in game two as they batted around in the first inning, scoring six runs in the frame. A fielding error allowed junior outfielder Julianne Rodriquez (Thousand Oaks, CA) to cross the plate for Redlands' first run of the ball game. Following a single by Vierra, sophomore outfielder Jaci Sanchez (Lakewood, CA) connected on an RBI-single before a fielder's choice loaded the bases for junior second baseman Jordyn Smith (Highland, CA). Smith promptly drilled a two-RBI single into right centerfield. When it was all said and done in the first inning, the Bulldogs owned a 6-0 lead.
Although the Panthers scored their first and only run off Mifsud in the top of the second, Sanchez picked up her pitcher by notching her second RBI of the game to push the Bulldogs' lead right back up to six.
After Mifsud put up three more zeroes, the Redlands offense stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning with a chance to win the shortened game and they did just that. The first run crossed the plate on an RBI-single by first-year centerfielder Samantha Rivas (Whittier, CA), but as Chapman tried to throw out the trail runner at third, it sailed into the dugout fence and allowed senior shortstop Ursyla Baumgarten (Penngrove, CA) to cross the plate for the walk-off victory.
Vierra stole the show by going 4-for-6 on the day with her first career home run, while Mifsud notched her first win of the season with the complete-game performance.
The Bulldogs (6-12, 4-6 SCIAC) host a non-conference doubleheader against Westminster College (MO) on Tuesday, March 20, at 2 p.m. at the Field of Dreams.