Amidst unusually damp conditions at the Softball Field of Dreams, the University of Redlands softball team squeezed in a non-conference doubleheader on Monday afternoon against the George Fox University (OR) Bruins. Led by sophomore hurler Lindsey Mifsud's complete-game showing, the Bulldogs notched a 5-4 victory in the opening contest, before giving way to a late surge of offense by the Bruins that led to a difficult 6-9 loss in the night cap.
Redlands struck first when junior catcher Lali Garza (Granit Bay, CA) blasted a two-out double to the left-center fence to plate senior third baseman Summer Smith (Redlands, CA), who drew the walk in the previous at-bat.
After the Bruins mustered four hits for two runs in the top of the third inning, the Bulldogs answered with a four-run outburst in the bottom half of the frame. Following singles by junior short stop Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA) and senior center-fielder Amanda Ang (Santa Cruz, CA), Smith stepped up to the plate for a run-scoring double to left-center field. Garza followed suit with a single through the left side for another RBI. With two outs and the Bulldogs still knocking, George Fox ordered a pitching change, which did little to deter freshman designated player Nicole Stanzione (San Marcos, CA), who uncorked a long single to center field to bring home two runs for the Maroon and Gray's 5-2 lead.
Mifsud continued to work from the circle, allowing just two hits and no runs over the next two innings.
Although the Bruins reloaded their order with multiple pinch-hitters, the Bulldogs held them to only two runs, which came off of a well-placed double to the left-center fence. Nonetheless, Mifsud quickly regrouped and forced two outs in the subsequent three batters.
In the top of the seventh, Mifsud elevated her level of play by striking out one and forcing a pair of fly-outs to secure the complete-game win.
Skryzynski and Garza each recorded a 2-for-3 effort at the plate to lead the team.
During the second contest, George Fox scored in the first, but Redlands responded with a two-run showing in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore short stop Ursyla Baumgarten (Penngrove, CA) sent Ang home on a sacrifice fly, before Stanzione singled up the middle to score Smith, who had doubled earlier in the frame.
Sophomore pitcher Mika Imoto (Vista, CA) took to the circle in game two for Redlands and settled down to retire the side in the second stanza. However, the Bruins took advantage of an infield miscue for a run in the top of the third.
Nonetheless, Smith took matters into her own hands by launching a solo shot for her first home run of the season to put Redlands back up by a score of 3-2.
Both teams relied on strong defensive play through the top of the fifth, until Ang led off the bottom half of the inning with a triple to center field. She touched home on an illegal pitch, before junior catcher Olivia Vierra (Burlingame, CA) plated Garza and Smith on a double down the right-field line to extend the Bulldogs' advantage to 6-2.
Unfortunately for the home team, the Bruins refused to go away and put up a crooked number in the top of the seventh off of five hits, resulting in the Bulldogs' difficult loss.
Smith recorded the only multi-hit showing for Redlands, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored in game two.
Redlands (2-2) opens Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) competition on Saturday, February 11, when it hosts No. 22 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges in a 12 noon doubleheader at the Field of Dreams.