The University of Redlands softball team traveled to Orange on Friday to take on its Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) foe, Chapman University, in a doubleheader. With the first series of the season ending in a split, the Bulldogs came out with a vengeance and knocked a total of 30 hits between the two games. The Maroon and Gray captured the doubleheader sweep over the Panthers by scores of 11-8 and 9-8, with the second game reaching 10 innings.
The Bulldogs got the scoring started with a two-run, top-of-the-first. The inning was capped off with an RBI-single to left field by senior catcher Lali Garza (Granite Bay, CA) to give Redlands the early 2-0 lead. After the Panthers put five runs on the board in the bottom half of the first inning, the teams' offenses were held scoreless until the fifth.
The Bulldogs once again rallied for two runs with another RBI-single by Garza and a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior second baseman Jordyn Smith (Highland, CA). Once again, Chapman answered back with two runs to regain the three-score lead at 7-4.
The Maroon and Gray's game-winning inning came in the sixth off five-straight hits with two outs. Four singles scored two, but it was a massive three-run homer by sophomore left fielder Jaci Sanchez (Lakewood, CA) that gave the Bulldogs the lead for good.
A run for the home team in the same inning inched the Panthers closer, but Redlands added two more in the last frame to seal the game-one victory by a final score of 11-8.
Six different Bulldogs had at least one RBI in the ballgame, with Sanchez and Garza tallying three each and going 6-for-7 combined.
Junior pitcher Mika Imoto (Vista, CA), earned her second career save by hurling a scoreless inning-and-a-third to close out game one.
Seeking a series sweep and a season series victory, Redlands looked to keep the bats hot and take game two of the doubleheader.
In game two, the Bulldogs trailed early but got on the board with an RBI-single by senior designated player Shandell Curtis (Upland, CA) in the fourth inning.
In the fifth, the Redlands bats exploded for three runs on four hits and a throwing error by the Panther defense. The substantial inning was highlighted by run-yielding singles off the bats of senior shortstop Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA) and Sanchez.
Two more runs batted in by Sanchez and yet another error in the field by the Panthers gave the Bulldogs another three-run inning in the top of the seventh.
With a one-run deficit, the Panthers managed to tie it up in the seventh to give the fans free softball in extra innings.
Two empty frames ensued, but in the top half of the 10th, the international tie-breaker rule gave the Bulldogs a runner at second to start the inning. After sacrificing the runner over to third, junior third baseman Julianne Rodriguez (Thousand Oaks, CA) laced a single up the middle to deliver the runner home and regain the lead for the Bulldogs. Rodriguez wouldn't stop there as she promptly stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. She soon trotted home on the successful sacrifice fly-out by first-year center fielder Samantha Rivas (Whittier, CA).
Although the Maroon and Gray surrendered one run in the bottom half of the inning, the Bulldogs eliminated the would-be tying run on a tag-out at home plate on a fantastic relay throw on the same play. Rivas fired the ball from left-center field to third baseman Rodriguez and she sent a strong throw to Garza, who applied a quick tag for the second out. With a shift in momentum, the Bulldogs finalized the game on a quick third out to take home the 9-8, 10-inning victory.
Sophomore pitcher Nicole Stanzione (San Marcos, CA) earned the win by tossing 4.2 innings of one-hit, one-run softball.
Garza was 6-for-9 on the day with three RBI and two runs scored, while Sanchez added a 4-for-8 day with six RBI and two runs scored. Rodriquez delivered a 5-for-9 afternoon with four runs scored and one driven in.
The Bulldogs (16-21, 11-14 SCIAC) look forward to Senior Day at the Redlands Softball Field of Dreams on Saturday, April 28. First pitch of the doubleheader against the visiting Leopards of La Verne will be at 12 noon.