Softball bounces back against William Woods in homecoming
The Eagles pick up two more nonconference wins. | Photo Illustration by Chak Hee Lo / THE CHIMES
Tired and jet-lagged from their road trip to Hawaii over spring break, softball refused to let it stop them from sweeping nonconference foe William Woods University of the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics on March 6. The Eagles won the first game of the doubleheader via a shutout from senior starting pitcher Terri Van Dagens and freshman relief pitcher Paige Austin, then staged a late rally for a 6-4 win in game two. The wins got the Eagles back on track after they dropped their last two games in Hawaii.
“We needed to get back to what we normally do and put those two games behind us,” said head coach Lori Coleman.
AUSTIN SILENCES BATS YET AGAIN
Van Dagens scattered four hits, three walks and four strikeouts in her four innings of work. The Eagles took the lead in the bottom of the first when junior outfielder Areana Ramos doubled home sophomore outfielder Jay Perez, then added another run in similar fashion in the fourth when Perez scored on a single from Ramos. Perez added an RBI single in the fifth and another in the sixth to make the score 3-0, which proved the final score. Austin mowed down her opponents, only allowing two baserunners and recording four strikeouts of her own in three innings. The young pitcher now has a 2.01 ERA over 55.2 innings, having settled into her role as the Eagles’ late-inning shutdown arm.
“If we have a lead, or even if we’re close, we’re confident… because she’s on the mound,” Coleman said. “Any time she’s on the mound, you have a good shot at winning.”
EAGLES GET SOME HELP
In the nightcap, the Eagles again scored first via an RBI single from freshman second baseman Kylie Velasco and a sacrifice fly from Perez in the bottom of the second. WWU tied the score in the top of the third off junior starter Kaile Chavez and loaded the bases against sophomore reliever Paula Damas, but Damas recorded a strikeout to end the inning and preserve the tie. However, the visitors took the lead in the fifth. WWU put runners on the corners with one out, forcing Coleman to pull Damas in favor of Austin, and the freshman promptly gave up a go-ahead RBI single.
The Eagles came right back in the bottom of the frame when Perez tripled and scored on a single from freshman outfielder Noel Balderston, who eventually scored on an error to give Biola a 4-3 lead. However, WWU scored an unearned run in the 6th to tie the game. With tension mounting, the Eagles loaded the bases in the 6th for Ramos, who hit a ground ball up the middle that was misplayed, allowing two runs to score. That proved enough for Austin, who shut the door in the seventh for the 6-4 win.
“[I have] just been looking for a good pitch to hit, pitch selection,” Ramos said.
The Eagles improve 19-5 overall, just two wins shy of matching their win total from 2017. They will play their first ever PacWest home series against Dominican University, a doubleheader on March 8 starting at 4 p.m.