Redlands, Calif. – Junior third baseman Kathryn Rabak (Grass Valley, Calif.) capped off a seven-run third inning with a three-run homer and freshman Jessica Liu (Alamo, Calif. - pictured) earned her first collegiate pitching win as the Pomona-Pitzer Softball team defeated No. 13 ranked Redlands 7-6 in the second of two on Friday.
Redlands won the opening game 5-2, and hit three solo homers in the bottom of the seventh inning of the second game to pull within 7-6 before coming up just short, as freshman pitcher Fiona Riley (Berkeley, Calif.) earned the save by getting the final two outs.
With the split, Pomona-Pitzer moves to 16-12 on the year and 9-5 in the SCIAC, solidifying its hold on one of the top four spots in the conference standings (the top four teams qualify for the postseason tournament). The first-place Bulldogs see their record move to 24-8 overall and 16-2 in the SCIAC with the split, while suffering only their second league loss on the year.
In the nightcap, Redlands pitcher Breanna Ruelas gave Redlands a 1-0 lead with a bases-loaded RBI single in the bottom of the second with one out, but Liu got out of the jam with no further damage. Liu then reached second base on a throwing error in the top of the third to start the seven-run explosion. After a lineout, the Sagehens rattled off six straight hits to shock the Bulldogs and take a 7-1 lead.
Liu moved up a base on a single from senior shortstop Ari Roach (Pinole, Calif.), and freshman center fielder Leah Bleichner (Simi Valley, Calif.) tied the score with an RBI single. Senior first baseman Bri Marcantoni (Chino Hills, Calif.) followed with a two-run double to right to put the Sagehens in front for good 3-1. After freshman catcher Emily Glass (Davis, Calif.) singled, sophomore designated player Caitlyn Hynes (Upland, Calif.) tacked on another RBI double to push the lead to 4-1.
Redlands went to the bullpen and Rabak greeted Gabrielle Sciuto with a three-run homer to push the lead to 7-1 with a big hit that would turn out to be the difference in the game.
Redlands took advantage of a couple of Pomona-Pitzer errors in the bottom of the third to score two runs as Amanda Lievanos had an RBI double to key the inning and bring the Bulldogs within 7-3. Liu, though, was able to find a rhythm and work her way through the fourth and fifth with little trouble. She retired the first two batters in the sixth, before allowing three straight singles to load the bases, but was then able to get a big groundout from pinch hitter Erika Houseman to escape the jam.
In the seventh, Liu, who was making only her third collegiate start, finally started to tire, as Lievanos hit a solo homer to start the inning. After Liu bounced back with a strikeout, Rikki Scates homered to make the score 7-5, and the Sagehens turned to Riley, who threw the first game. Kai Masutani proceeded to hit another homer to make the score 7-6 and bring the Bulldogs within a single run, but Riley got Molly Duran to pop up to short, and after a walk put the tying run on base, Arlene Martinez flew out to freshman left fielder Ashley Morello (Santa Cruz, Calif.) to end the game.
Blechner and Glass were each 3-for-4 in the nightcap to help Liu to her first collegiate pitching victory. Liu allowed no earned runs through the first six innings (before allowing two on solo homers in the seventh) to see her record move to 1-2, striking out one and walking none.
In the opening game, the Sagehens got off to a quick start with two runs in the top of the first. Morello and Roach had two straight singles to start the game and moved up a base on a groundout. Marcantoni then singled back up the middle to score both runners and give Pomona-Pitzer the 2-0 lead.
The lead held until the third inning, when Redlands struck for four runs. Lievanos tied the score up with a two-run double, and Scates added an RBI double in the inning. Pitcher Kayla Uphold, who was 3-for-4 in the opener, added an RBI single in the fourth inning to stretch the lead to 5-2 and then kept Pomona-Pitzer's offense at bay the rest of the way for the win, as she improved to 14-2 in the circle on the year.
The Sagehens will be back in action tomorrow for a doubleheader at Occidental.