Regals Earn Split against Poets
CLU drops game one 7-3, rallies in game two 7-2
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Cal Lutheran women’s softball team earned a split with their Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) rivals Whittier Saturday afternoon, falling 7-3 in the first game before rallying behind stellar pitching performances from Shonna Christianson and Katelyn Downing, defeating the Poets 7-2.
It was the Regals that jumped out in front in game one, scoring two runs in the first inning. With two outs, Shannon Tinsley smacked a solo homerun off the scoreboard to put CLU up 1-0. After Liz Mertel walked, Brittany Labbe laced an RBI-double into centerfield, extending the Regals lead to two runs.
The Regals would tack on another run in the bottom of the third when Labbe came up with her second RBI-base hit of the game and pushing the CLU lead to 3-0.
The lead would hold until Whittier pushed across three runs in the top of the sixth.
After CLU couldn’t come up with a run in the bottom of the inning, the Poets took the lead in the top of the seventh when they strung together three straight hits and Cindy Loza scored on an RBI-ground out. Whittier broke the game open a batter later when Mercedez Cundiff lined a two-run single into centerfield.
Cal Lutheran mounted one final comeback when Kayla Sakamoto singled with two outs the bottom of the seventh inning. Tinsley then followed with a double off the left field fence but unfortunately for CLU, Whittier pitcher Courtney DeLano got the final Regals batter to ground out to third base, securing the win for the Poets.
DeLano (9-1) earned the complete game victory for Whittier while Blake Lewis (0-4) suffered the loss for CLU.
Labbe, Mertel, and Tinsley all had two hits for Cal Lutheran while Loza and Samantha Mellano had three for the Poets.
Cal Lutheran continued its theme of hot starts in game two, when it plated three runs on five hits in the second inning. Christianson and Mertel led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After a sacrifice bunt from Christina Hunter, Downing doubled to right field, scoring Christianson. Kelly Lockwood then stepped in and delivered a two-run single up the middle to put CLU up 3-0.
Christianson (3-5) got the start in game two and surrendered just three hits and one run in four innings of work.
Backed by Christianson’s strong outing, Cal Lutheran scratched across runs in five straight innings, ultimately extending its lead to 7-2.
Downing came on in relief in the fifth inning and shut the door on the Poets, allowing just one hit to earn the three-inning save for Cal Lutheran.
The Regals pounded out 12 hits in game two led by Lockwood who went 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Lewis was also 3-for-3 at the plate while Mertel had her second straight multi-hit game. Tinsley also blasted her third homerun of the season in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Cal Lutheran (5-17, 5-12 SCIAC) will be back in action Monday, March 25, when they host George Fox (Ore.) for a doubleheader starting at 11:00 a.m.