The University of Redlands softball team faced off against the conference-leading Leopards of the University of La Verne in a Friday afternoon doubleheader at the Field of Dreams. The Bulldogs picked up an exciting 6-4 win in extra innings off of a two-run shot by senior third baseman Summer Smith (San Bernardino, CA) before falling behind in the second contest that was called short due to darkness.
During the opener, the Bulldogs immediately jumped on the board with heads-up base-running off of an unusual error in the outfield. With the bases loaded and only one out, sophomore designated player Mika Imoto (Vista, CA) launched a long fly-ball to deep center for the sacrifice but the ball bounced off the outfielder's glove, which allowed an additional run to score for the Bulldogs' 2-0 advantage.
However, La Verne answered right back with a two-run showing in the top of the second inning to even the tally. The momentum stayed with the visiting squad in the top of the third as well, as the Leopards knocked three hits, including a two-RBI single to right field, to take a 4-2 lead.
With sophomore pitcher Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) settling into the circle, the Bulldogs went back to work on offense in the bottom of the fourth. After Redlands blasted back-to-back singles, sophomore right-fielder Jennifer Ng (Pleasanton, CA) laid down a perfect bunt to move the runners into scoring position at second and third. With two outs, senior centerfielder Amanda Ang (Santa Cruz, CA) came up clutch with a single through the left side, which plated junior shortstop Ursyla Baumgarten (Penngrove, CA) and Smith to tie it up once again.
The Redlands defense continued to provide excellent support for Mifsud, as the team rolled up a double play in the top of the fifth.
The Bulldogs had a quality chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh when junior second baseman Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA) doubled to right center and then took third on a Smith fly-out. Unfortunately, the rally ended there, which sent the game into extra innings.
In the top of the ninth, Redlands escaped a bases-loaded jam with excellent defense, as junior catcher Lali Garza (Granite Bay, CA) remained steady and strong at the plate.
The Maroon and Gary carried that positive energy into the bottom of the inning for an exciting finish to the game. With one out and a runner on first, Smith blasted the ball over the left-field fence for the walk-off, two-run dinger.
As a team, the Bulldogs registered 10 hits, with Baumgarten going 2-for-4 at the plate.
Mifsud earned the win from the circle after an extended-game effort that included four strikeouts.
After more than three hours since the first pitch of the day, the Bulldogs took to the field for game two against the Leopards. With a few defensive miscues, La Verne rattled off three runs in the first two innings for an early lead.
With Imoto in the circle, Redlands settled down in the third by dismissing three of four batters on quality defensive plays.
In the bottom of the third, Skrzynski doubled to score Ang, who led off the inning with a single up the middle, for Redlands' first run.
However, the Leopards tacked on one more in the fourth to extend their advantage to 4-1.
After five complete innings, the game was called for darkness in the top of the sixth and stands as official.
Redlands (10-16, 6-8 SCIAC) takes to the road for its next three doubleheaders, beginning with Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Friday, April 7, at 2 p.m.