In a tight doubleheader at the Field of Dreams, the University of Redlands softball team twice overcame a first-inning deficit but captured only one win against the visiting Leopards of the University of La Verne on Saturday during Strike Out Cancer Day. In game one, the Maroon and Gray gained a walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh to earn an exciting 3-2 decision. However, the tables were turned in the nightcap, as La Verne came up with the final-inning run to hand the Bulldogs a tough 4-5 loss.
During the day's first frame, the Leopards fired off three hits and two runs to take an early lead. The Bulldogs escaped further damage when senior second baseman Julianne Rodriguez (Thousand Oaks, CA) snagged a high lineout to end the inning.
Nonetheless, senior pitcher Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) quickly settled down and retired the side in the next four innings. Defensively, Rodriguez secured another highlight-reel play when she leaped up to make the grab.
In the bottom of the third, Redlands pushed a run across on a two-out rally that began with first-year designated player Tyesen Gordon's (Lathrop, CA) single to right field. After stealing second, she came home on senior catcher Nova Siegel's (Fairfield, CA) two-bagger to center field.
The Bulldogs tied it up with a run in the bottom of the fourth, as they took advantage of a misfired throw to first on a sacrifice bunt. First-year first baseman Jessica Torosian (Thousand Oaks, CA) led off the stanza with a free pass and then her pinch-runner, first-year Jaeden Ells (Yelm, WA), stole second and reached home on the error.
With the score still tied at two, the Bulldogs put together a quality seventh inning to capture the 3-2 victory in exciting style. With one out, first-year right fielder Hayley DiMase (Eastvale, CA) reached on a blooper to the shortstop before Gordon moved her over on a single up the middle. Siegel stepped up to the plate and found space for a double to right-center field, which scored the game-winning run in walk-off fashion.
Mifsud earned the win from the circle by scattering five hits, striking out one, and relying on her defense. Siegel highlighted the offense with her 3-for-4 effort at the plate that resulted in two RBI.
During game two, La Verne scored once in the top of the first to force Redlands into another uphill climb right out of the gates. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs answered in the bottom of the second when they loaded the bases on another Siegel double, a walk, and senior shortstop Jordyn Smith's (Highland, CA) single. Rodriguez worked the count and ultimately walked in the tying run during the subsequent at-bat.
After the Leopards pushed a run across in the top of the fourth, Redlands responded once again. Torosian led off with a triple, which set up first-year pinch hitter Aya Smith's (Redlands, CA) inaugural home run in a Maroon and Gray uniform. The Bulldogs kept it rolling by recording two walks, a bunt single, and a stolen base to load the bases again. Gordon's sacrifice fly scored Ells for the Maroon and Gray's 4-2 advantage.
However, La Verne mustered three runs over the next three innings to take a 5-4 lead. Although the Bulldogs orchestrated a sweet 5-3-2 double-play in the top of the seventh, their bats abandoned them in the bottom of the frame, which left them on the losing end of this one.
Siegel remained hot at the dish with a 2-for-4 showing as the only Bulldog with more than one hit in the game two.
Redlands (14-16, 8-10 SCIAC) takes to the road for a conference doubleheader at Whittier College on Friday, April 12. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.