Softball splits tight doubleheader
Softball welcomed the Hope International University Royals to Freedom Field for a midday nonconference doubleheader on Feb. 15. The Eagles needed to come from behind twice in the first game to eventually win 5-4 thanks to a walk-off hit-by-pitch. After falling early in game two, the Eagles were shut down for the final five innings as they lost 4-2.
Senior starting pitcher Terri Van Dagens got off to a slow start in game one, giving up a lead-off triple, RBI sacrifice fly and double on the first three at bats in the game. After Van Dagens loaded the bases, an error allowed the second run of the game, but the Eagles threw out another runner at home to end the inning. Biola came back and scored one run in each of the following innings while Van Dagens settled in and locked down the Royals.
Freshman pitcher Paige Austin came on in relief in the fifth inning and also struggled early. She allowed two runs on a two-out single before ending the inning on the next at bat. However, sophomore outfielder Jay Perez provided the spark in the bottom of the same inning for the Eagles as she hit a two RBI single to tie the game once again.
“We had runners on and I was just thinking, ‘Base hit,’ because if I get on and get a base hit then they’ll be able to get that score,” Perez said.
Austin recovered from her bad start and kept the Royals off of the scoreboard to force the game into extra innings despite allowing multiple runners on base in the seventh and eighth. The Eagles walked-off in the bottom of the eighth inning when junior third baseman Missy Poti was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, allowing the game-winning run and giving Biola the 5-4 victory.
“[This team] is enjoying [playing] and having lots of fun,” said head coach Lori Coleman. “We practice winning a game, and we are trying to change our mindset to, ‘We will not lose’ and it is starting to show.”
Perez went 3-4 with two RBI and a triple, and scored the game-winning run. Both Eagles pitchers had strong performances, combining for eight strikeouts while allowing four runs and five hits.
Game two of the doubleheader had a similar start to the first game, with both teams scoring early. Junior pitcher Kaile Chavez earned the start and got into a jam in the second inning. After the Royals loaded the bases, they brought home three runs on three at-bats to take an early lead. The Eagles responded quickly when senior third baseman Selina Sherlin hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second inning. Biola added another run before the end of the frame to trail 3-2.
From that point on, the Eagles were shut down by Royals’ pitcher Jamie Ponce, who allowed only one hit in the remaining five innings. Ponce scored for the Royals in the top of the seventh to pad her own lead and help herself comfortably see out the 4-2 win.
The Eagles move to 4-3 after splitting the games. They next play in the Tucson Invitational on Feb. 18, where they will face off against Lubbock Christian University, Western Oregon University and Franklin Pierce University in Tucson, Ariz.