The University of Redlands softball team took care of business on Wednesday in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) showdown against the Chapman University Panthers on Strikeout Cancer Day at the Field of Dreams. After honoring cancer survivor Sandi Shuff, the Bulldogs utilized solid pitching, timely hitting, and aggressive base-running to secure the sweep by scores of 8-3 and 6-1.
In game one, the Bulldogs built an early lead with a four-spot in the bottom of the first by taking advantage of two Panther miscues. A misplayed fielder's choice sent the ball into the home dugout, which allowed two runs to score. The only hit of the frame came off of sophomore first baseman Lali Garza's (Granite Bay, CA) bat, which led to a costly throwing error after the face to plate two more runs.
After Chapman answered with one run in the top of the second, Redlands stretched its advantage to 6-1 with a sacrifice fly from sophomore third baseman Summer Smith (San Bernardino, CA) and an RBI-double by senior second baseman Vicki King (Thousand Oaks, CA). Senior center-fielder AJ Carrasco (Whittier, CA) and sophomore right-fielder Bev Valerio (Monrovia, CA) began the inning with back-to-back hits to set up the runs.
The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth when senior catcher Dani Santos (West Covina, CA) stepped up with a two-out, two-RBI double to plate junior pinch-runner Amanda Ang (Santa Cruz, CA) and freshman designated player Hayley Romo (Port Orchard, CA).
Senior pitcher Lauren Henson (Highland, CA) relied on her team's solid defense to minimize Chapman's offense, as she scattered eight hits and struck out two in the win. Freshman pitcher Jessica Doss (San Mateo, CA) entered the game in the fifth frame to secure the save after dispersing four hits and fanning one batter.
King recorded the only multi-hit game for the Maroon and Gray by going 2-for-4 at the plate.
During the second contest, both teams struggled to push runners across early on, with the Panthers plating the only score in the top of the third.
However, the Bulldog bats woke up in the bottom of the fifth, when they put up a crooked number to take a 5-1 lead. Santos initiated the charge with her single shot over the fence that followed a high ball that landed between three Panther players and then bounced foul from the circle. In addition, the productive inning included another run from a Chapman error, along with RBI-hits from senior left-fielder Grace Rose (Villa Park, CA), King, and Romo.
Carrasco capped off the solid day with a solo dinger over the right-center wall in the bottom of the sixth.
Despite a scary defensive play in the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs prevailed by making the final outs for the 6-1 victory over the Panthers.
Freshman pitcher Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) collected the win after allowing seven hits and one run in a complete-game effort.
Carrasco and Rose highlighted the offense of game two, with 4-for-4 and 3-for-4 showings, respectively.
Redlands (25-11, 15-9 SCIAC) heads to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges for a conference doubleheader on Friday, April 29, at 2 p.m.