Pair of One-Run Losses Sends Redlands Softball Home from NCAA Championships
The No. 13 University of Redlands softball team suffered two one-run losses on Saturday, ending its run at the Tyler Regional of the 2012 NCAA Division III Championships. The Bulldogs saw a 1-0 lead in the seventh inning turn into a heartbreaking 1-2 loss to fourth-ranked Pacific Lutheran University (WA) in their first game of the day. Hours later, the Maroon and Gray retook the field for an 8:45 p.m. start against Birmingham Southern College (AL) in an elimination game, but a one-run deficit in the first inning led to another loss, sending the Bulldogs back to California.
Redlands and Pacific Lutheran battled it out in a pitchers' duel, resulting in a combined nine hits between the teams through six innings.
The Bulldog bats came alive in the top of the seventh, as the team put together five hits to nearly double its output for the game. Senior third baseman Molly Duran (Corona, CA) led off with a single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Junior second baseman Arlene Martinez (Corona, CA) laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to move her teammate to third, before junior center fielder Sarah Beeman (Corona, CA) connected on an RBI-single down the left-field line to plate Duran for the first score of the game.
However, PLU answered in the bottom of the inning by taking advantage of a single, a walk, and an error.
Going into the eighth, Lute pitcher Ronni Ferris retired the side to extinguish any chance for the Bulldogs to recover the lead.
Her teammates made the most of opportunity when the Bulldogs made another miscue, which eventually led to the winning run when Amanda Hall singled to left field and scored Montessa Califano.
The Bulldogs faced Birmingham Southern in Saturday night's elimination game, hoping to repeat their winning effort from Friday against the Panthers.
However, BSC scored one run in the bottom of the first for an early lead that held up for the victory. After Bethany Fronk walked with one out, she advanced on a steal and an infield ground-out. Erin Lopez brought her home on a long single to center field for the eventual game-winning hit.
Throughout the game, Redlands struggled to string hits together, tallying only four with freshman short stop Linda Park (Torrance, CA) providing two.
Junior pitcher Kayla Uphold (Fontana, CA) scattered six hits and struck out three in a valiant performance from the mound. She completed her second season at Redlands with a 20-6 record.
The Bulldogs (32-13) finish the 2012 campaign after winning the program's eighth consecutive Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship and advancing to the NCAA Championships for the eighth straight year.