LA VERNE Calif.— Cal Lutheran softball faced a tough test to start the season as the Regals played a doubleheader against the La Verne Leopards on Saturday afternoon. CLU put up a fight but the Leopards swept the games winning 11-4 and 6-4.
The Regals held strong against the defending regular season Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) champions, and had their chances to win, but came up just short.
CLU's newcomers made their presence known in SCIAC play. Senior Rachel Barker hit a two-run double in the first game and also tallied a run scored while junior Danielle Chatman recorded a bases-clearing triple for three RBIs in the second game.
The Regals had no shortage of base runners as they kept the games close, but in all, left 15 runners stranded. The missed chances allowed La Verne the advantage at home.
Seven new Regals started on day with Barker, Chatman, junior Celeste Ekman, freshman Rilee Grau, freshman Mia Onesto, junior Lauren Salvati and junior Sienna Vannoy dawning Violet and Gold for the first time.
The Leopards sturck first scoring in the bottom of the first, but the Regals had an answer in the top of the second. In their first at-bats with CLU, Chatman and Vannoy singled and the Regals had two on and one out. Barker continued the hot hitting for the newcomers and doubled in her first RBIs with the Regals as Chatman and Vannoy raced home.
Cal Lutheran scored a total of four runs in the inning, taking a 4-1 lead, as junior Catherine Slabaugh and Salvati both recorded their first RBI of the season. Salvati also tallied the RBI in her first at-bat with the Regals.
Junior Olivia Serrano started the season on the mound for CLU. In the first two innings, Serrano only allowed one hit, one run and struck out one Leopard. La Verne got to Serrano in the third and scored four runs as they took back the lead. The Regals were held scoreless the rest of the game as Serrano took the loss. La Verne, on the other hand, scored one run in the fifth and put up a five-spot in the sixth and won the game 11-4.
The Leopards got off to quick start in the second game of the doubleheader and put up four runs on junior Brittany Workman in the bottom of the second.
The Regals threatened in the fifth inning as they tried to cut into the lead. Slabaugh doubled to start the inning and Workman moved her over to third with a single to give CLU runners on the corners with no outs. After junior Kendall Marinesi was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Chatman made the Leopards pay as she tripled and cleared the bases. A few batters later, Vannoy hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Chatman and tying the game at four.
La Verne answered instantly in the bottom of the inning and with two runs and took the lead back. In the top of the seventh, Salvati singled to lead off the inning, and stole second to put herself in scoring position. The Regals had the game-tying run come to the plate three times, but weren't able to score as the Leopards took the game 6-4. Workman pitched the whole game as she suffered her first loss of the season.
The Regals continue the season with a conference doubleheader at home. Cal Lutheran host Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Saturday, Feb. 23, at 12 and 2 p.m.
Box Score: ULV 11, CLU 4; ULV 6, CLU 4
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director