Sour Start for Softball

Regals drop two to Whitworth

Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 7:03 pm

Christina Hunter had a solid first day of softball for the Regals today.

Credit: Tracy Maple Hi-res image

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Beneath beautiful blue skies the Cal Lutheran softball team opened their 2013 campaign. As the sky turned to gray clouds, so did the results for the Regals as they fell 11-5 and 7-0 at the hands of Whitworth in a doubleheader on Hutton Field to kick off the spring sports at CLU.

An early run from the Pirates came in the first inning after the leadoff batter, Sacha Clow, reached on a walk and came around on an Alyssa Martinez single to right center. The score remained 1-0 for the next four innings.

CLU centerfielder Kayla Sakamoto was forced out of game one in the top of the fourth inning, shifting Katelyn Downing from the infield to roam the outfield while Katrina Gutierrez made her CLU debut at second. Freshman Blake Lewis took to the circle in her first collegiate game, forcing a 1-2-3 fourth. Gutierrez was responsible for the second out of the inning on a weak ground ball to the left side after the first batter of the frame grounded out to third baseman Liz Mertel and the final out came from transfer shortstop Kelly Lockwood, also playing her first game for the Regals. Each fired accurately across the diamond to sophomore transfer Christina Hunter at first base in her first start for CLU.

An inning after the defense shined, the sunshine hurt the Regals with an outfield error on a dropped fly ball, which led to a pair of unearned runs as the Pirates plated five in the frame. A Jamie Brunner double to right field cleared the loaded bases as she advanced to third on the throw.

The CLU offense responded in the bottom of the fifth when senior catcher Shannon Tinsley connected for a two-run homerun, scoring Hunter who reached on a fielding error earlier in the inning, for the first runs of the season.

Unfortunately, the wheels came off the wagon for CLU in the top of the sixth as Whitworth scored four more runs, with three unearned on a pair of errors. Tinsley gunned down a would-be base stealer at third to end the inning.

Three consecutive hits in the bottom of the sixth were sparked by Brittany Labbe with Danika Green stroking a double before giving way to Taylor Beacham as a pinch runner for her first appearance in Violet and Gold. Debben Hoffer followed suit with a single to left, advancing to second on the throw home. The back-to-back-to-back hits knocked starting pitcher Riley Fritz from the circle. The change, to Megan Fisher, did not deter the Regals as Gutierrez connected for her first CLU hit, a two-RBI single to right center. Cal Lutheran inched closer, cutting the deficit to 10-5 after six.

Whitworth would tack on one more in the seventh to finish the offense as the Regals were unable to get any closer in their final at-bat of the game. Fritz (2-0) earned the win while Lewis (0-1) was tagged with the loss.

In game two the Regals loaded the bases in the second and with one out Hoffer squared up a pitch and looked to break the scoreless tie, but the line drive landed in the glove of pitcher Taylor Gilbert as she defensively protected her face. The inning ended one batter later on a ground ball, squandering the scoring opportunity.

Whitworth scored a pair in the third and added five more in the fourth to conclude the scoring on the day. Clow scored the ultimate winning run in the third on a Natalie Evers RBI single and was 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs of her own with two runs scored.

Cal Lutheran connected for just four hits in the game. Shonna Christianson (0-1)was handed the loss after allowing six runs on eight hits, but she struck out three. Downing came on in relief to fan a pair and allow no earned runs. Gilbert (1-1) earned the win after going the distance for the Pirates.

Overall today Green was 4-for-6 with a double. Gutierrez and Tinsley had two hits and a pair of RBIs apiece and Hunter connected for a pair of hits and stole a base.

Defensively, Hunter had 13 putouts while Lewis finished with nine and Tinsley had seven with four assists and threw out four runners attempting to steal.

Diamond Martinez rounded out the CLU players appearing at Hutton Field for the first time today. Kendra Varney and Ryanna Morua each stepped out on the field today for the Regals as well.

Whitworth (3-1) was led by Brunner who had a 4-for-8 day with six RBIs and three runs scored. Clow and Evers had three hits apiece and Clow also drove in four while scoring five.

Cal Lutheran (0-2) will be on the road for their next four games as they open Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play. Saturday, Feb. 9 the Regals travel to Chapman for a pair at Hart Park beginning at noon.

Game 1: WHT 11, CLU 5
Game 2: WHT 7, CLU 0