The University of Redlands softball team took on the Westminster College (MO) Blue Jays in non-conference action on Monday evening at the Field of Dreams. The Bulldogs pulled off a series sweep of the Blue Jays that was highlighted by a two-run, walk-off homerun from sophomore third baseman Summer Smith (Redlands, CA) for a 12-10, game-one victory, and a combined no-hitter by senior starting pitcher Lauren Henson (Riverside, CA) and freshman reliever Jessica Doss (San Mateo, CA) en route to an 11-0 (5 inn.), game-two win.
In game one, the Bulldogs faced an early three-run deficit after the opening half-frame and looked for the offense to quickly respond.
Freshman shortstop Hayley Romo (Port Orchard, WA) got the ball rolling for the Bulldog in the bottom of the first inning by lofting a bloop-single to center field to score senior outfielders Grace Rose (Alta Loma, CA) and AJ Carrasco (Whittier, CA), trimming Redlands' deficit to 2-3.
After the Blue Jays tossed up another three-spot in the top of the fourth inning, the Bulldogs responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, starting with an RBI-triple off the bat of Carrasco. S. Smith followed by poking a ground ball to second base, allowing Carrasco to cross home while cutting the Westminster lead to two runs at 4-6.
Despite facing a three-run deficit entering into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Bulldog bats awoke and strung together a powerful, late-game rally that included six runs.
S. Smith continued to cart a hot stick by lining a double in the right-center gap to score Carrasco and sophomore right-fielder Bev Valerio (Monrovia, CA). Sophomore first baseman Ursyla Baumgarten (Penngrove, CA) kept the RBI-train chugging by smacking a single through the left side, plating Rose. Freshman designated player Mika Imoto (Vista, CA) followed suit by launching an RBI-two-bagger over the head of the Blue Jay's left-fielder to scored Baumgarten, which was backed by an RBI-single from junior catcher Lali Garza (Granite Bay, CA) to score Romo, handing the Bulldogs a 10-7 advantage.
Despite holding a three-run lead entering into the top of the seventh inning, the Bulldogs surrendered three runs, which knotted the game at 10 apiece.
However, Redlands remained poised and went back to work on offense. Carrasco worked her way on base for the fourth time in the ball game by lining a single up the middle and promptly swiped second with ease. S. Smith dug into the box and hit a towering fly ball to dead-center field that carried over the wall for a walk-off, two-run jack, resulting in Redlands' 12-10 exciting victory.
Carrasco earned a 3-for-4 mark that featured a triple and four runs scored. S. Smith provided the run support with five RBI, a double, and a homerun off a 2-for-5 showing at the plate. Garza provided three hits, while Valerio barreled two knocks as well.
In game two, the Bulldogs wasted zero time on the offensive front by tossing up a seven-spot in the first frame.
Rose fueled the massive outburst with a single up the middle to score S. Smith. Baumgarten matched her effort to plate Rose shortly after. Freshman catcher Tawney Lilley (Alta Loma, CA) bit off a piece of the RBI-pie and drew a hit-by-pitch, which was backed by an RBI-single from junior outfielder Amanda Ang (Santa Cruz, CA) to score sophomore designated player Olivia Vierra (Burlingame, CA). The Bulldogs then relied on consecutive wild pitches for two more runs en route to an early 7-0 advantage.
Henson, who was awarded the start in the circle, took the sizable lead and ran with it by pitching extremely effectively, as she retired the nine batters she faced in order with help from a consistent defensive unit.
Doss entered the game in relief in the top of the fourth inning and picked up right where Henson left off. She dominated the Westminster offense by allowing no hits and walking a mere batter in two innings of action.
The Bulldogs tacked on four more insurance runs in the following three innings, highlighted by a solo shot off the bat of Garza in the bottom of the second en route to an 11-0, mercy-rule induced routing of Westminster.
Doss and Henson were untouchable in the circle after combining for a no-no, as only one Blue Jay's batter reached base via walk.
Ang was a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish with two RBI and a run scored. S. Smith stayed active at the plate by going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Baumgarten went 2-for-3 as well, with a double, an RBI, and a run scored.
The Bulldogs (17-9, 7-7 SCIAC) return to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) action on Friday, April 1, with a doubleheader against the University of La Verne Leopards at home on the Field of Dreams. Game times are set for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.