The University of Redlands softball team traveled to nearby Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Sunday for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader. After struggling to find their bats, the Bulldogs suffered a 1-6 loss in the opener. Despite a late grand slam in the second game, it was not enough as the Maroon and Gray fell short in a 7-9 decision.
During the first contest, Redlands tied it up with senior shortstop Ursyla Baumgarten's (Penngrove, CA) leadoff home run over the left-center fence in the top of the third.
However, the Sagehens regained the lead in the bottom of the frame off two hits and two free passes.
A pitchers' duel ensued, with neither team recording a hit until the sixth, when first-year centerfielder Samantha Rivas (Whittier, CA) knocked a single with one out and one runner on. Unfortunately, the Sagehens responded by retiring the next two batters and escaped the inning unscathed.
Pomona-Pitzer carried this momentum into the bottom of the sixth and produced four runs on four hits and an error for the 6-1 lead.
The Bulldogs gained one baserunner with senior first baseman Olivia Vierra's (Burlingame, CA) single to left field in the top of the seventh but that was all they could muster in the final inning of the five-run loss.
During the second game, Redlands' bats woke up and unleashed three hits in the top of the first to score the early run. Junior catcher Nova Siegel (Fairfield, CA) initiated the turnaround with her leadoff double through the right side. She eventually stole second, which set up Rivas' RBI-double down the right-field line for the Maroon and Gray's 1-0 advantage.
After the Sagehens evened the tally in the bottom of the first, the Bulldogs pushed a run across in the top of the third. With one out, Rivas reached on an error and made her way to second on the play. Vierra's single up the middle moved her to third before scoring on Baumgarten's groundout for Redlands' 2-1 lead.
However, Pomona-Pitzer put up seven hits for eight runs over the next two innings to force Redlands into catch-up mode with a 2-9 deficit.
In the sixth, the Bulldogs kept battling with a two-out rally that included singles from first-year left fielder Desiree Moran (Bakersfield, CA) and senior third baseman Lali Garza (Granite Bay, CA), along with sophomore pitcher Nicole Stanzione's (San Marcos, CA) walk to load the bases. Siegel blasted a hit to score one and keep the bases juiced for senior right fielder Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA), who uncorked her second grand slam of the season. This one cut the deficit to two at 7-9.
Unfortunately, the rally ended there, as the Bulldogs headed home with a pair of tough losses to the conference-leading Sagehens.
Redlands (13-19, 8-12 SCIAC) continues to compete on the road with a conference twin bill on Friday, April 13, at Whittier College. The first pitch is planned for 12 noon.