The University of Redlands softball team kicked off its 2015 campaign on Thursday with a non-conference doubleheader against the Whitworth University (WA) Pirates at the "Field of Dreams." The Bulldogs split the doubleheader, losing the first game, 1-3, but bouncing back to win the second game, 3-2.
In game one of the twin bill, the Bulldogs faced an early one-run deficit after the Pirates' Chelsey Hayes led off with a triple and eventually crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly.
The Maroon and Gray wasted no time responding, as junior first baseman Vicki King (Thousand Oaks, CA) uncorked a double to push across graduate student right-fielder Amanda Lievanos (Anaheim, CA), who reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the inning.
Both offenses remained stagnant throughout the following four innings until the Pirates drove in two more runs to grab the lead at 3-1 in the top of the fifth inning.
The Bulldogs put together a solid effort in the bottom of the inning, when junior catcher Dani Santos (West Covina, CA) led off the frame with a double that clanked off the bottom of the wall to give the Bulldogs a useful scoring opportunity. Unfortunately, the Maroon and Gray failed to capitalize, as Santos remained stranded at second.
While still trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the freshman duo of shortstop Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA) and second baseman Haley Farr (Chino, CA) got the momentum going by notching base-knocks, which eventually landed runners on second and third with one out. However, the Bulldogs again left the runners on base and eventually fell by a score of 1-3.
Junior pitcher Lauren Henson (Highland, CA) picked up the lost after tossing a complete game. King and Santos each went 1-for-3 with a double.
During the second game of the doubleheader, sophomore pitcher Courtney Ludlow (Petaluma, CA) was handed the ball as Redlands' starter and fanned two batters in the first three innings. She and the Bulldog defense kept the Pirates off the scoreboard as well.
Skrzynski led off the bottom of the third inning with a walk and later advanced to second on a fielder's choice. Sophomore center-fielder Marissa Romero (Manteca, CA) followed with a single up the middle, advancing Skrzynski to third. Lievanos stepped into the box with a crucial RBI opportunity and uncorked a tape-measuring homerun over the centerfield wall to grab the lead at 3-0.
Ludlow continued to keep the Pirates hitters off balance by holding them scoreless through six innings.
Whitworth worked to string together a rally in the top of the seventh stanza after loading the bases and scoring two runs amidst a light rain shower. But Ludlow rallied to pitch her way out of the jam and led the Bulldogs to a 3-2 victory.
While pitching her first complete game in a Bulldog uniform, Ludlow picked up the victory after striking out two and scattering eight hits.
Lievanos went 1-for-3 in the contest while scoring one run and driving in three RBI.
The Bulldogs (1-1) begin Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition on Saturday, February 8, against the Cal Lutheran University Regals in Thousand Oaks. The first pitch of the doubleheader is slated for 12 noon.