The University of Redlands softball team squared off in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader on Friday by taking on the Whittier College Poets under windy conditions at the Field of Dreams. The Bulldogs took control of both games early by displaying overpowering pitching and relentless offense, and never looked back en route to a sweep by the final scores of 8-1 and 10-0 (5 inn.).
Despite the Poets striking first in game one, the Bulldogs answered back immediately by pushing across two runs in the bottom half of the first inning. Senior left-fielder Grace Rose (Villa Park, CA) and senior center-fielder AJ Carrasco (Whittier, CA) came around to score on the same wild pitch to grab an early 2-1 advantage.
A one-run lead was all that senior starter Lauren Henson (Riverside, CA) needed, as she settled in after a rocky first inning and blanked the Poets over the course of the following six frames en route to four strikeouts.
Redlands poured on the runs in the final four innings, starting with an RBI-double off the bat of freshman catcher Tawney Lilley (Alta Loma, CA) in the bottom of the fourth inning.
During the ensuing frame, the Maroon and Gray tossed up a crooked number by plating four runs to distance its lead. Sophomore third baseman Summer Smith (Redlands, CA) put the ball in play to force an error by the Poets, allowing sophomore right-fielder Bev Valerio (Monrovia, CA) to touch home. Senior second-baseman Vicki King (Thousand Oaks, CA) followed a batter later by driving a two-RBI-double down the right-field line, plating Smith and Carrasco. Freshman designated player Hayley Romo (Port Orchard, WA) capped off the offensive outpour by poking a single to left field, scoring King for the 7-1 advantage.
Sophomore pinch-hitter Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA) tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning by barreling an RBI-single to score Carrasco en route to the Bulldogs' 8-1 victory.
King helmed the offensive attack by going 2-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored. Carrasco touched home a trio of times, while notching two base-hits.
Game two featured the same potent offense, as Redlands wasted no time getting on the board in the bottom of the first inning.
Rose drove home the first run of the game, as she pieced a double to center-field, allowing Carrasco to cross home. Romo chipped in two more RBI by lacing a single up the middle, plating King and Rose for the Maroon and Gray's early 3-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the second inning, Rose felt déjà vu by sending yet another two-RBI, two-bagger out to center field, scoring Carrasco and Valerio. King and freshman designated player Mika Imoto (Vista, CA) backed her efforts with consecutive sacrifice fly-outs to left field to hold a commanding 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs continued to press down on the gas pedal and added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Romo provided another RBI-knock, this time good for a double, plating freshman pinch runner Jennifer Ng (Pleasanton, CA). Sophomore pinch-hitter Olivia Vierra (Burlingame, CA) added further insurance to the lead by bouncing a single to the shortstop, which allowed junior pinch-hitter Amanda Ang (Santa Cruz, CA) and Romo to score en route to Redlands' 10-0 mercy-rule win.
Freshman hurler Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) was incredible in the circle and earned the win by scattering just four hits and fanning a pair of batters. In addition, she retired the side in order through her final two innings of work.
Rose was a perfect 3-for-3 at the dish with two doubles, three RBI, and two runs scored. Romo was equally as impressive by going a flawless 3-for-3 at the plate with a double, three RBI, and a run scored. Carrasco was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored, as well.
The Bulldogs (21-11, 11-9 SCIAC) face off against the Occidental College Tigers (9-20, 5-12 SCIAC) tomorrow for a conference doubleheader. Game times are set for 12 noon and 2 p.m. in Eagle Rock.