The University of Redlands softball team hosted the Tigers of Occidental College on Saturday at the Field of Dreams for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader. During the opener, the Bulldogs rallied to tie things up but saw it slip away in a costly fifth inning, which led to a 3-7 loss. Redlands impressed in the nightcap by taking an early lead, but the Tigers refused to go away and handed the home team a difficult 2-3 loss in eight innings.
Occidental came out swinging and quickly put up three runs on three hits in the first inning of the day. The Bulldogs pulled one back with a productive bottom half of the frame, with junior catcher Nova Siegel (Fairfield, CA) touching home on an infield hit. She led off the inning with a double to left center and moved over to third on a single by senior first baseman Olivia Vierra (Burlingame, CA). She finally came home when first-year centerfielder Samantha Rivas' (Whittier, CA) well-struck ball bounced off the pitcher's glove to the short stop.
With junior pitcher Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) finding her stride in the second inning, the Bulldogs used that confidence to tack on another run in the bottom of the stanza. Sophomore left fielder Jaci Sanchez (Lakewood, CA) moved into scoring position on a single through the right side, a stolen base, and a wild pitch. With two on and one out, junior right fielder Jennifer Ng (Pleasanton, CA) answered the call by launching a long sacrifice fly to left field to send Sanchez home.
The Bulldog defense provided great support for Mifsud in the top of the third, as they perfectly executed the 1-3-5 double play.
Redlands methodically tied it up in the bottom of the third with another single run, as Sanchez provided the RBI-single to left that brought in Vierra, who took a hit-by-pitch and stole second.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs' offense stopped there, as Redlands mustered only three more hits in the remainder of the game. On the other hand, Oxy heated up for four more runs to secure the 7-3 final score.
During the nightcap, the Maroon and Gray scored first with one run in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs and a runner on second, first-year pitcher Jocelyn Hernandez (Downey, CA) helped herself with an RBI-single to right field.
Sanchez made it 2-0 for the Bulldogs in the third when she provided the third-consecutive, two-out single, which plated Siegel from second base.
Hernandez appeared to be on cruise control from the circle and allowed just two hits through five innings, as her defense backed her with two double plays.
However, Occidental mustered a run in the top of the sixth and again in the seventh to send the game into the eighth. A solo home run provided enough offense for the Tigers to complete the comeback.
Redlands (13-17, 8-10 SCIAC) faces a quick turnaround and heads to Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Sunday, April 8, for a conference doubleheader against the Sagehens. First pitch is set for 12 noon.