PALMDALE, Calif.— Cal Lutheran softball opened its 2020 campaign with a doubleheader split at Antelope Valley, falling 4-3 in the first game before winning the second 7-4, on Tuesday afternoon.
Junior Meghan Henry got the nod for the first game of the year for the Regals. It did not start the way she or CLU wanted as the first Antelope Valley hitter connected on a homerun. The Pioneers added one more run during the inning and had a 2-0 lead heading to the second.
Cal Lutheran got one run back in the top of the second. Senior Celeste Ekman walked and advanced to second via a ground ball from sophomore Mia Onesto. The first RBI of the year came off the bat of senior Lexie Findley as she doubled in her first plate appearance of 2020, driving in Ekman. UAV answered in the bottom of the inning, getting back one run.
Over the next two innings, Henry settled down and allowed just one hit and the Regals's defense recorded two double plays. Henry pitched four innings, 91 pitches, and allowed seven hits with just three earned runs.
The Regals made their move in the top of the fifth as Onesto led off the inning with a triple. Onesto would score on a passed ball, the two next Regals were walked, and CLU was in business. Findley scored the next run, also coming off a passed ball, and the game was tied heading to the bottom of the fifth.
Antelope Valley answered again, hitting back-to-back doubles to start the inning, and took a 4-3 lead. Junior Sienna Perez replaced Henry and went to work immediately. Perez recorded three outs on the next four hitters, including a strikeout. Perez continued her impressive pitching in the sixth and struck out one more batter. In two innings of work, Perez held the Pioneer batter's hitless.
CLU had one final chance in the top of the seventh as the Regals looked to tie the game. Onesto reached base via an error and the inning started well for the Regals. A successful bunt from Findley got Onesto to second, but the next two Cal Lutheran batters recorded outs and the Regals fell 4-3 in their season opener.
Senior Olivia Serrano got the start in the second game of the doubleheader. She controlled the game through four innings, striking out three batters and gave up just three hits.
The Regals offense did the rest, adding the run support. Findley earned a walk to get things going in the top of the second. After a single from senior Lauren Salvati and a sacrifice bunt from freshman Natalie Winokur, a sacrifice fly from senior Catherine Slabaugh put CLU up.
For the second straight game, the Regals scored two runs in the fifth. Senior Kendall Marinesi homered to start the inning and Ekman scored the second run off a single from Winokur.
The Pioneers got one run back in the bottom of the fifth and the Regals earned it back in the sixth. Freshman Ariana Mendoza doubled, bringing in her first career RBI, as Marinesi raced home.
Senior Brittany Workman came in to relieve Serrano in the bottom of the fifth. With the bases loaded, Workman got the Regals out the jam, as she tallied back-to-back fly outs.
The Regals added more scoring in the sixth, totaling four runs, as Marinesi, Mendoza, Winokur and Slabaugh each added a RBI.
Workman continued to shut down the Pioneer hitters in the bottom of the sixth as she went three up, three down, all pop ups. UAV added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh, but Workman shut them down after that, giving Serrano the win, as CLU earned its first win of 2020.
Next up for the Regals is their home opener. Cal Lutheran will host the exact same team, Antelope Valley, February 5, for a doubleheader at 12 and 2.
Box Score: UAV 4, CLU 3;CLU 7, UAV 4
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director