Softball Nearly Completes Sweep of Tigers
CLU adds to win total
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Returning to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play after a brief two-game hiatus, the Regals softball team added to their season win total with a 7-3 game one victory and nearly completed a sweep before falling, 8-7, in a nine-inning afternoon affair against Occidental at Hutton Field today.
The Regals combined for 23 hits and 14 runs in a pair on the diamond today. CLU shortstop Kelly Lockwood was locked in as she went 4-for-8 with a cycle in the doubleheader, scoring five runs. Christina Hunter also had a solid day, going 4-for-6 with two walks and five RBIs. Brittany Labbe added a 5-for-8 performance at the plate, driving in a pair and scoring twice.
Not only were the bats hot, but the pitching was from Katelyn Downing was on target as the junior earned the game one victory before coming on in relief in the third inning of game two despite being tagged with the loss. She allowed just three earned runs in 14.0 innings of work and struck out seven for a 1.50 ERA.
During game one, Downing was clearly hitting her spots in the second inning, as she retired the side in order on a trio of called third strikes.
The Regals got their offense going in the bottom of the inning with Blake Lewis stroking a leadoff single that found the left centerfield fence in a hurry. Shonna Christianson went in to run and moved around the diamond to score the first run of the game on an RBI double from Hunterthat also plated Labbewho battled to a 10-pitch at-bat that culminated with a single.
Occidental put up a crooked number in the top of the third on a triple and a single from Ali Goldberg and Jacqueline Shimamoto, respectively.
CLU put their bats right back to work. Lockwoodled off with a triple off the right field fence and Kayla Sakamoto lifted the first pitch she saw into center for a sacrifice fly. Shannon Tinsley reached on an error and Christianson and Hunter each connected for RBI singles, pushing the CLU advantage to 5-1.
After the bottom of the fourth ended on a runner caught trying to steal, CLU promptly got momentum back on their side.
Downing got some help from her defense in the top of the fifth. Debben Hoffer made a grab over the shoulder for the first out before a line drive right at the senior outfielder two pitches later for the second out of the frame. Ryanna Morua made the third out of the inning on a ground ball.
A leadoff walk by Shimamoto was followed by a double and single to give the Tigers their second run of the game. With one down Oxy added to their tally on an RBI single from Patricia Phillimeano. A Regals error loaded the bases, but Downing forced a shallow fly ball to Labbe in right to end the threat.
Lockwood launched the first homerun of her CLU career with a solo shot to left center field in the bottom of the sixth inning for the final run of the game.
Overall in the opener, Lockwood was 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI as she was a double shy of the cycle. Hunter was 3-for-3 with a trio of RBIs while Labbe also had a multi-hit game. Christianson scored three times and added an RBI.
The second game took nine innings to determine a winner. Each squad scored in the first. Occidental jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a pair of doubles, but CLU responded with a run of their own on an Oxy error, illegal pitch and wild pitch to knot the teams at 1-1 after the first frame.
The Tigers went up 6-1 as they tacked on four runs in the second and another in the third. CLU nearly worked out of trouble, twice cutting down the lead runner at third and home for the first and second outs of the second inning. A bloop single up the middle scored one but a throwing error allowed another pair to cross the plate. Three hits in the third frame allowed Oxy their run.
Slowly, CLU chipped away with two runs in the bottom of the third, sending eight batters to the plate. Lockwood drew a leadoff walk and Sakamoto beat out the throw on a bunt single before Tinsley loaded the bases with a single. A Labbe RBI single scored Lockwood and a bases loaded walk by Hunter pushed Sakamoto across the plate.
The duo at the top of the order repeated their efforts in the bottom of the fourth when Lockwood, Sakamoto and Tinsley connected for back-to-back-to-back extra base hits with Lockwood and Tinsley doubling around a Sakamoto triple off the fence, cutting the deficit to 6-5.
Occidental scored an unearned run in the sixth to regain a two-run lead at 7-5.
A speedy Sakamoto again bunted for a single to start the bottom of the sixth inning and with two outs CLU rallied. Labbe lined a single to left, scoring the CLU centerfielder and an error on the Occidental first baseman allowed Downing to reach, putting runners at the corners. Hunter promptly singled in Labbe with the tying run, but that was all the team could produce in the frame, sending the teams into extra innings.
Both sides of the seventh inning ended with double plays. Morua led off with bottom of the seventh with a triple to left, but was gunned down at the plate as part of a double play to end the inning.
The Regals also recorded a double play to end the eighth on a pair of cross-diamond tosses, going 5-3-6. Liz Mertel was also responsible for the inning-ending DP in the seventh on a line drive that she picked off the Oxy runner at first on.
In the ninth, Phillimeano led off with a single through the third base-shortstop gap. An error with one out allowed the winning run to score.
CLU would put up a fight in the bottom of the ninth, by way of an Occidental error, a bunt single by Morua and a two-out walk to Tinsley, but the inning and game ended on a line drive to second base.
Brittany Vacura (5-5) earned the win for Oxy by throwing 5.0 innings in relief, allowing just one earned run to the Regals after being tagged with the loss in the opener.
Downing (2-5) also went 1-1 today. Christianson got a no decision after starting game two.
Offensively, in game two Sakamoto was 3-for-6 as she and Lockwood each scored three times. Labbe had a 3-for-5 game and Morua and Tinsley each had two hits. Labbe and Hunter each drove in a pair in the loss.
Cal Lutheran (3-13, 2-10 SCIAC) is on the road Saturday, March 16 when they travel to Pomona-Pitzer for a pair beginning at noon.