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Dominance at the plate propels softball’s success

The Eagles slugged their way to a five-game win streak in their most impressive stretch of the season.   |   Chak Hee Lo/THE CHIMES

 

An exhilarating road victory at Azusa Pacific University sparked a five-game win streak for the Eagles. Those five games, which included doubleheader sweeps against Lewis and Clark College and the University of Antelope Valley, featured some of the team’s best offensive performances this season. A loss and a tie in a Valentine’s Day doubleheader at Concordia University snapped the streak, giving the Eagles a 6-4-2 record overall through Feb. 14.

After APU pitcher Carly Xeoplas silenced the Eagles’ bats in the first game of their doubleheader on Feb. 7, Biola retaliated in game two. A four-run second inning proved just enough for the Eagles’ pitching staff, as sophomore Kalie Chavez, freshman Paula Damas and senior Kimmy Triolo combined to hold the Cougars to three runs and give Biola the victory. It marked the Eagles’ first win over Azusa Pacific since 2011 and a big moment for the softball program as it gears up to enter play in National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II next season.

The Eagles carried their momentum into the next four games, featuring the emergence of newcomer Kayla Neff. The freshman catcher and infielder soared during the four-game stretch, recording seven hits, six runs and 12 RBI. Neff had her best performance in the second game of the doubleheader at Antelope Valley on Feb. 11, when she hit two home runs and ended up with seven RBI. The latter statistic tied a Biola softball record set by Mary Dinsmore and Vanessa Coleman in 2005 and 2012, respectively. Other Eagles joined in the hit parade as well, such as freshman outfielder Jay Perez providing a key tiebreaking single in the first game against Lewis and Clark on Feb. 10 and having two RBI in the second game. In the opening game at Antelope Valley the next day, junior outfielder Anjie Amezquita and sophomore catcher Alexis Parker combined for five hits and seven RBI.

“I love the connective atmosphere when everything feels like it’s flowing,” Triolo said.

“We build off each other and that’s what makes this team successful.”

Next up on the Eagles’ schedule is the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics SoCal Classic. The event, hosted by Biola, takes place at Big League Dreams in West Covina, Calif. from Feb. 16-18.

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