The University of Redlands softball team faced off against the visiting Athenas of Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges on Friday afternoon in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader at the Field of Dreams. After falling in a tough opening battle, 0-2, the Bulldogs bounced back to capture an exciting 8-4 victory in the nightcap.
As the game remained scoreless through four innings, Redlands stepped up defensively throughout the game to minimize the Athenas' offensive chances, beginning with a double play in the bottom of the first. Junior catcher Nova Siegel (Fairfield, CA) also forced a pick-off at first when she caught the runner in a pickle in the top of the second. She repeated the effort in the top of the fifth, as she threw down to second for the third out of the inning.
The Athenas scored once in the top of the fifth before the Bulldogs mustered two hits in the bottom of the frame. First-year Samantha Rivas (Whittier, CA) blasted a long single to right field and then stole second. With two outs, sophomore left fielder Jaci Sanchez (Lakewood, CA) sent a single to right field and moved to second on the throw, as Rivas rounded third but was thrown out at home on a nice defensive play by CMS.
But, the Athenas extended their lead to 2-0 in the subsequent frame and relied on their strong pitcher to get the job done.
The second game saw a renewed energy in the Bulldogs, as senior shortstop Ursyla Baumgarten (Penngrove, CA) doubled in the bottom of the first to rattle the CMS pitcher. With two outs, Rivas tripled to left center and scored Baumgarten for the home team's first run of the game.
Redlands stayed hot in the bottom of the second by teeing off of the CMS starter with three hits and five runs. After back-to-back walks, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with a single by junior right fielder Jennifer Ng (Pleasanton, CA). Siegel answered the call by uncorking a two-RBI single up the middle. This set up Baumgarten's three-run shot to the opposite fence for the Maroon and Gary's 6-0 lead. With first-year pitcher Jocelyn Hernandez (Downey, CA) taking care of business, the Bulldogs sat in prime position to cruise to victory.
However, the Athenas finally struck in the top of the fourth by pushing one run across on a sacrifice fly.
Nonetheless, Rivas responded for Redlands in the bottom of the inning by going yard for two runs for her sixth home run in a Maroon and Gary uniform. She plated Vierra, who had found grass on a single to left field.
Although CMS cut the deficit to four with a three-spot in the top of the fifth, Redlands stopped the outburst when sophomore pitcher Nicole Stanzione (San Marcos, CA) lifted Hernandez from the circle. After forcing the third out to halt the Athenas, she retired six out of seven batters she faced in the final two innings to earn the save in the Bulldogs' 8-4 victory.
Rivas went 2-for-3 with three RBI and one run, while Baumgarten provided a 2-for-4 effort with three RBI and two runs.
Redlands (12-14, 7-7 SCIAC) heads to the University of La Verne on Saturday, March 31, for a conference doubleheader at 12 noon.