The University of Redlands softball team took to the diamond for its fifth and sixth games in the past three days, facing off against the Whitworth University (WA) Pirates on Sunday at the "Field of Dreams." In a pair of tight-knit contests, the Bulldogs split with the Pirates, first hauling in a 3-2 victory before falling in the nightcap in a 2-3 decision.
In game one, freshman hurler Mika Imoto (Vista, CA) took to the circle for the start and tossed a solid opening two innings by allowing just three base-runners and no damage. Senior hurler Lauren Henson (Highland, CA) entered into the game in the top of the third inning and threw up a zero as well.
After the Pirates put up a run in the fourth frame, the Bulldogs answered back when sophomore designated player Lauren Hernandez (Littleton, CO) putting the ball in play and forcing a Pirate fielding miscue. Sophomore pinch-runner Bev Valerio (Monrovia, CA) and sophomore shortstop Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA) took advantage of opportunity with assertive base-running to touch home for Redlands' 2-1 lead.
The Pirates remained relentless by notching another run in the top of the fifth inning to tie the score, but the Bulldogs matched the output once again. After junior center-fielder Amanda Ang (Santa Cruz, CA) led off the inning with an infield single, senior second baseman Vicki King (Thousand Oaks, CA) drove a two-out single up the middle to score Ang for the Maroon and Gray's 3-2 advantage.
A one-run lead was all that freshman hurler Jessica Doss (San Mateo, CA) needed, as closed the door by tossing two scoreless frames to earn the win. Imoto re-entered in the top of the seventh to finish the job and grab her first collegiate save.
King had a solid day at the dish, going a perfect 2-for-2 in the first game with an RBI.
In game two, freshman pitcher Lindsey Mifsud (Belmont, CA) was awarded the start and went the distance while giving up one earned run and fanning three batters.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs trailed early by giving up three runs – two being unearned - in the second and third innings combined.
The bats did not turn around for Redlands until the bottom of the seventh inning when sophomore pinch-hitter Olivia Vierra (Burlingame, CA) led off the inning with a single. Sophomore third baseman Summer Smith (Redlands, CA) dug in the box and sent a fastball into orbit over the left-field fence for a two-run homerun.
Unfortunately, the Bulldogs were unable to send home the tying run, thus resulting in the 2-3 defeat.
Smith highlighted the offense in game two by going 2-for-3 with a two-run home run, a pair of RBI, and a run scored. Senior left-fielder Grace Rose (Villa Park, CA) penciled two hits on the ledger as well.
The Bulldogs (5-1, 2-0 SCIAC) head to Whittier College on Saturday, February 27, for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader against the Poets. First pitch is set for 12 noon.