The University of Redlands softball team hosted the Pomona-Pitzer Colleges Sagehens in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader on Saturday at the Field of Dream. In two very close showdowns, the Bulldogs prevailed in each to take home their first sweep of the season. The Maroon and Gray scored early and held off a late push to secure the 4-3 win in the opener before rallying in the sixth inning of the nightcap to snag the 5-2 win.
Sophomore pitcher Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) took to the circle for the first game and cruised through the first three innings while giving up only one hit.
Redlands jumped on the board in the bottom of the third inning with excellent execution. After senior third baseman Summer Smith (Redlands, CA) doubled to lead off the frame, junior shortstop Ursyla Baumgarten (Penngrove, CA) singled up the middle to move her to third. Sophomore designated player Mika Imoto (Vista, CA) laid down a sacrifice bunt in the subsequent at-bat, which allowed Smith to touch home for Redlands' 1-0 lead.
The Bulldogs tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fourth in a strange turn of events that began with Smith's deep sacrifice fly to plate sophomore right fielder Jennifer Ng (Pleasanton, CA). On the same play, the Sagehen defense threw the ball away and then dropped a catch for two errors and two more Bulldog runs.
With a 4-0 lead, Redlands looked to Mifsud to close out the game with great support from her defense. Smith supplied a highlight-reel diving catch for the first out of the Sagehens' sixth, but a trio of Bulldog errors ensued, which allowed the visiting squad to score three runs and close in on the deficit.
Nonetheless, the Maroon and Gray settled down, with junior catcher Lali Garza (Granite Bay, CA) picking off a runner at third for the third out to end the inning and eventually secure the Maroon and Gray's 4-3 win.
Smith and junior second baseman Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA) led the Bulldog offense with two hits apiece. Mifsud struck out three in the complete-game effort.
During the second game, the Sagehens took an early 2-0 lead through the top of the fourth, forcing the Bulldogs to play catch-up. With the deficit, Head Coach Liz Slupinski made the call to send Mika Imoto into the circle in the top of the fourth.
Smith answered the call offensively in the bottom of the frame with a solo shot to make it a one-run ball game.
Redlands put together a stellar defensive effort in the subsequent inning that included another throw-down by Garza to snag the would-be base-stealer. Imoto also struck out one and forced a routine fly-out.
Still trailing, the Bulldogs put together a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the fifth, following Skrzynski's lead-off double. Senior centerfielder Amanda Ang (Santa Cruz, CA) blasted a single up the middle to plate Skrzynski and tie up the game.
Redlands rallied for a three-spot in the sixth that began with a lead-off homer by Garza. A few batters later, the Bulldogs had the bases loaded, which set up RBI by Ng and Ang.
Imoto remained relentless from the circle and immediately shut down any chance of a Sagehen comeback with a strong seventh inning, resulting in the Bulldogs' sweep.
Ang supplied a 2-for-4 outing with two RBI, while Skrzynski was 2-for-3 with two runs and one RBI.
Imoto recorded her first win of the season in a four-inning appearance.
Redlands (6-12) hosts Williams College (MA) on Tuesday, March 21, for a 2 p.m. non-conference bout at the Field of Dreams.