THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - On a beautiful day, on a gorgeously plush Hutton Field with newly painted white foul poles, the Cal Lutheran softball team opened its season with a pair against Whitworth out of the Northwest Conference with the Pirates defeating the Regals 4-2 in game one and 4-3 in the second game.
A three-run first frame of game one for Whitworth ended with a called strike out as senior Courtney Sooy stepped into the circle on her final opening day at CLU. Sooy (0-1) tossed a complete game, striking out four.
In her first collegiate at-bat, Brittany Workman forced the WU pitcher into throwing double figure pitches as she earned a walk to start things off. Amanda Lewis stroked an RBI triple to drive in Workman with the first run of the season and a few pitches later Olivia Leyva laced an opposite field RBI double to push across a second run and pull CLU within a run.
Whitworth added a fourth run in the top of the second and scoreless softball ensued for the remainder of regulation, though both teams threatened. In the bottom of the fifth Makenna Pellerin led off with an infield single and Mikaela Mayhew reached on a fielder's choice, which Pellerin beat out at second, though both runners were stranded. WU left three players in scoring position over the final two frames.
The top of the fifth started with a sliding catch in centerfield by Jacy Watanabe and Pellerin, Scooter Rapisardi and Mayhew teamed up to turn a 3-6-4 double play in the third. CLU players also cut down the lead runner for the second and third outs of the top of the fourth as the defense was solid in the opening game.
Cal Lutheran collected just five hits with Pellerin going 2-for-3 while Lewis, Leyva and Sooy each notched one. Catherine Slabaugh made her debut as a pinch runner.
For Whitworth, Myranda Ramirez was 4-for-4 with a run and Tessa Matthews went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Madi Perez improved to 4-0 on the season after throwing the complete game.
In the night cap, Kendall Marinesi and Lexie Findley each made her first collegiate start. Whitworth again struck first as Logan Miller connected for an RBI triple that scored Ramirez who started a two-out rally with a single, giving the Pirates a 1-0 advantage. WU doubled its lead in the top of the fourth.
CLU pushed across a run in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run as Leyva tripled to right field and Rapisardi drove her in with a single two batters later. The teams went on to exchange a pair of runs each in the fifth frame. Whitworth got a sacrifice fly before executing a suicide squeeze to take a 4-1 lead and the Violet and Gold responded with a leadoff single from Workman, a walk by Watanabe and a two-RBI double to left centerfield from Lewis to force a pitching change. Unfortunately, Lewis was left 60 feet away and the scoring would end there.
For the Regals, Rapisardi was 3-for-3 while the trio of Lewis, Slabaugh and Workman finished with two hits apiece. Sierra Scali also got her first official collegiate at-bat as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning.
Nicole White-Madolora also had her final opening day as the senior hurler went 4.0 innings, scattering five hits and allowing two runs before handing the ball to Workman (0-1) who was tagged with the loss after allowing two runs on two hits despite striking out four. Olivia Serrano also made her first appearance for the Violet and Gold, throwing the final inning, not allowing a hit.
Whitworth (6-2) notched just seven hits in the second game and Logan Miller was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs while Shannon Wessel drove in a pair.
Cal Lutheran (0-2) returns to the diamond on Saturday, Feb. 11 to host another NWC foe in Lewis & Clark with first pitch at Hutton Field slated for noon with a second game to follow.
Box Score: WU 4, CLU 2
Box Score: WU 4, CLU 3
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