SU Claims Title, Race for Final Playoff Slot Heats Up
Softball - Mon, Apr. 17, 2017
In what has become almost a right of spring, Simpson clinched its sixth consecutive California Pacific Conference regular season crown and the #1 seed in the upcoming conference tournament. The No. 16 Red Hawks have posted at least 36 overall victories for five straight seasons, including three years with single-digit losses. But the race for the other three playoff spots is not so clear-cut.
Benedictine-Mesa and Marymount California, which close out the season with back-to-back doubleheaders in Torrance, Calif., are tied for second at 7-5 and appear to have the inside track to two of the final three postseason berths. Embry-Riddle (6-10), La Sierra (5-11), and Antelope Valley (4-12) all have a shot at the final slot, but all will have to beat the top three teams. ERAU travels to Simpson this week to close out its regular season slate with four games against the Red Hawks. LSU finishes its regular season schedule by hosting MCU for two twinbills. UAV closes out its regular season by hosting BenU for four games this week.
Simpson will host the Cal Pac Softball Championships will be held May 4-6 in Redding, Calif. The top four teams in the conference standings will qualify for the double-elimination tournament. The winner of the Cal Pac will advance to the Opening Round of the 37th Annual NAIA Softball World Series, to be held on May 26 at various campus sites.
Monday, April 10
No. 16 SIMPSON 8-4, LA SIERRA 4-3, at Riverside, Calif.
The Red Hawks took the final two games of the four-game series with the Golden Eagles. Neither team was able to put up a run in the first four innings of the first game, but LSU plated three runs in the 5th by combining two hits and an error to jump in front. With two outs, Brittany Martinez singled in the first run of the game, and Genifer Garbellini brought in two more with a double to deep left. But SU was far from done. Sarai Camacho, who had held the Red Hawks in check through five innings, surrendered four in the 6th, and SU tagged on four more in the 7th to register the win. In the 6th, Amanda Laughlin tripled in two, and Mia Olvera followed with a two-run home run to put the Red Hawks in front for the first time. Laughlin doubled in a run in the 7th, Olvera singled in another pair, and Kaylana Mah rounded out the scoring with a single. Laughlin, Olvera, and Bailey Akins each had two hits for SU, and Garbellini had a pair for LSU. The second game was another closely played contest, with the Red Hawks edging the Golden Eagles with a run in the 5th that held up with Paris Hallums in the circle. Hallums, coming off back-to-back no-hitters, came in relief in the 4th and picked up her eighth win of the season, recording her fourth consecutive outing without allowing an earned run. LSU was first on the scoreboard again, putting up a run in the 1st on Melanie Vidaurri's single. SU responded with a three-run 3rd on Madison Wright's RBI-double and run-scoring singles by Olvera and Kayla Bailey. The Golden Eagles tied the game in the 4th on RBI-singles off the bats of Taylor Gimondo and Andrea Sleigh, but Hallums entered the game after Sleigh's single and struck out the next two batters and got the third out on a pop up. In the 5th, Bailey's ground out brought Laughlin home with what proved to be the winning run as Hallums set down LSU in the final three innings. Wright and Mah each had two hits for the Red Hawks, now 11-1 in the Cal Pac and 32-8 on the season. Garbellini had her second two-hit game of the day, and Gimondo added a pair of singles in three trips to the plate. LSU is now 3-9 in conference and 16-18-1 overall.
Wednesday, April 12
No. 16 SIMPSON 7-7, BENEDICTINE-MESA 1-6, at Mesa, Ariz.
The Red Hawks continued their road success by sweeping the Redhawks, giving SU five wins in the last six contests. Their only loss was a 2-1 setback at La Sierra, even though Paris Hallums tossed a no-hitter before losing on a two-run error. BenU entered the first day of a four-game set with SU trailing the Red Hawks by just one game, making this a pivotal series if BenU was going to challenge SU for the top spot in the postseason tournament. In the opener, BenU did something that recent opponents have not been able to do against SU's Hallums--score an earned run. BenU did so in the home half of the 3rd on Cierra Taylor's single, but they still trailed by three runs at that point, and Hallums retired the next nine in a row over the following three innings and allowed just a one-out single to Danielle Perez in the 7th to pick up her ninth win of the season. In SU's half of the 3rd, Madison Wright blasted a one-out solo shot to right, and Kayla Bailey doubled home a run to deliver the two big blows. Bailey homered in the 5th for another run, and SU tacked on two more in the 7th on a wild throw and an RBI-single from Missy Silveira. Wright finished game 1 going 3-for-4 at the plate, and Bailey added two hits, two runs, and two RBI. BenU's Taylor and Perez each had two hits. In the second game, SU rattled off five runs in the 1st and BenU had to play catch-up all game. BenU rallied with three in the 3rd to cut the lead to two, but SU put the lead back up to four with runs in the 4th and 5th. BenU answered with two in the 5th and another in the 6th, but could not quite catch SU at the end. SU's big 1st inning was keyed by Baily Akins's two-run shot that followed RBI-doubles by Bailey and Kaylana Mah. In BenU's 3rd-inning rally, the first run crossed on an error, but the next two came in via singles by McKenzie Turman and Dayton Yingling. Yingling cleared the center field fence with a two-run homer in the 5th to make the game 7-5. SU's Mah finished with three hits, and Wright and Amanda Laughlin each added two hits. BenU's Turman and Lina Barrera both had three hits, and Yingling and Taylor contributed two hits apiece. SU created some breathing room at the top of the Cal Pac standings with the sweep, improving to 13-1 in conference and 34-8 overall. BenU, now trailing SU by four games, slips to 7-3 in the Cal Pac and 21-14 overall.
Thursday, April 13
No. 16 SIMPSON 10-7, BENEDICTINE-MESA 0-1, at Mesa, Ariz.
The Red Hawks clinched their sixth consecutive Cal Pac title with the sweep of the Redhawks. SU, now 15-1 in the Cal Pac and 36-8 on the season, dominated the four-game road series and did not trail any of the four games, and SU pitchers did allowed one run or less in three out of the four games. The SU pitching staff is currently having the second-best year in program history with a team ERA of 1.85 this spring. In the first game of the day, SU blanked BenU behind Courtney Dunn's one-hitter. In six innings in the circle, Dunn surrendered one hit, one walk, and struck out seven to move to 8-0 on the season and lower her ERA to 1.54. Madison Wright and Kayla Bailey led the 15-hit offense with three hits apiece, and Mia Olvera, Kaylana Mah, and Jessica Dager each added two. Mah drove in three runs with a home run in the 6th. In the second game, BenU put together nine hits, but plated just one run as Paris Hallums went the distance for her 10th win of the season in 15 decisions. SU scored in the 1st when Wright led the game off with a solo blast to center, and BenU tied it up in the home half of the frame when Heather O'Kelly doubled home Cierra Taylor. But it was all SU from that point forward as the Red Hawks scored two runs in the 2nd, 5th, and 7th while Hallums blanked BenU over its final six at bats. Mah had three hits to lead SU, including another home run, this one a solo shot to lead off the 7th. Wright, Bailey, Courtney Thomas, and Jaycie Bruno each added two hits. For BenU, Taylor had three of the team's nine hits in the game, and O'Kelly and McKenzie Turman each had two. Despite the four losses, BenU still holds onto second place in the Cal Pac standings with a 7-5 mark, 21-16 overall, a game in front of Marymount California.
ANTELOPE VALLEY 7-9, LA SIERRA 2-4, at Palmdale, Calif.
The Pioneers swept a pair of Cal Pac games with the Golden Eagles. UAV struck first in the 3rd after Cheyanne Haas opened the inning with a double and came around to score on an error, and Erika Romero gave the Pioneers a 2-0 lead after scoring on a ground out. LSU tied the game in its next at bat when Andrea Sleigh doubled home a run and then scored on a UAV error. The Pioneers put the game out of reach with a five-run 5th when Angelina Gonzalez, Ashley Adkins, Cydney McElvain, and Romero produced run-scoring hits. Haas was the only LSU player with two hits, while Berlyn Benavides and Genifer Garbellini both went 3-for-4 for LSU, and Brittany Martinez added two hits. The second game was another close one until UAV put up a big inning, this time plating four runs in the 6th. Leading 5-4, the Pioneers put the game out of reach some big hits in the frame. Sabrina Mansfield singled home the first two runs in the inning and then later scored on an RBI-single by Amber Adkins. Angelina Gonzalez rounded out the scoring with a single that brought home Adkins. UAV starter and winner Ashley Adkins surrendered two hits to the Golden Eagles in the 7th, but kept the runners from scoring to seal the win. Mansfield, Gonzalez, and Amber Adkins each finished the game with three hits. Gonzalez drove in three runs, Amber Adkins drove in two and scored twice, while Mansfield had a pair of RBI and scored three runs for the Pioneers, who up their Cal Pac record to 4-10 and are now 7-25 on the season. Benavides, Garbellini, Martinez, Sleigh, and Taylor Ross each had two hits for LSU, now 3-11 in conference and 16-20-1 overall.
Friday, April 14
LA SIERRA 7-6, ANTELOPE VALLEY 0-2, at Lancaster, Calif.
The Golden Eagles flipped the script from Thursday's doubleheader with Pioneers, pulling off the sweep of Cal Pac games to even the series at 2-2. UAV opened the scoring with Sabrina Mansfield's solo home run in the 1st, and added a second run in the 2nd on a wild throw, but LSU knotted the score in the 3rd when Genifer Garbellini doubled home a pair of runs. After two scoreless innings, the Golden Eagles broke the game open with three runs in the 6th. Melanie Vidaurri tripled with one out, Andrea Sleigh singled her home, and then Garbellini delivered another two-run hit, this time a single to shallow center. LSU tacked on another run in the 7th off an RBI-single by Maritza Ortiz. Garbellini finished the game going 3-for-4 with four RBI. UAV's Ashley Oakley also went 3-for-4, collecting half of the Pioneers' hits. In the second game, LSU's Miranda Frickle tossed seven shutout innings while allowing just two hits. The Golden Eagles scored three times in the 4th off an RBI-double by Vidaurri and a two-run single by Sleigh. Brianna Gutierrez drove in a run with a single in the 5th, and LSU scored three times in its final at bat with a hit batter, an error, and a bases-loaded walk. With the two wins, the Golden Eagles improve to 5-11 in Cal Pac play and 18-20-1 overall. UAV dips to 4-12 in conference action and 7-27 on the season.
MARYMOUNT CALIFORNIA 1-4, EMBRY-RIDDLE 12-1, at Prescott, Ariz.
The Eagles got on top of the Mariners in the first of two games, but MCU bounced back in the nightcap to gain a spilt in the first doubleheader of the two-day series. ERAU jumped on the Mariners early in the opener, plating five runs in the 1st, adding one more in both the 2nd and 3rd, and putting the game away with five more in the 4th. Katey Moore led the 16-hit attack with three hits, while Hannah DeLuna, Rylee Payton, Makenzie Hospodka, Myranda Windahl, and Carly Carlsen each added two hits. Meghan Hospodka belted a three-run homer for the Eagles. MCU got on the board in the 4th, but it was not enough to avoid the mercy rule that stopped the game in the 5th. Marissa Padilla tallied two hits for MCU. In the second game, the Mariners got a solid outing from Mary Gonzales, who pitched seven innings, scattering nine hits, and allowing just one run to score. That single run came in the 1st, but MCU tied the game in the 3rd on Sonia Escalara's RBI-single. The Mariners took the lead in the 5th and added two insurance runs in the 7th. Padilla had two more hits in the second game and drove in three of the four runs for MCU, now 5-5 in the Cal Pac and 10-18 overall. Samantha Nelson had two hits for ERAU, now 6-8 in conference and 17-31 on the season.
Saturday, April 15
MARYMOUNT CALIFORNIA 10-5, EMBRY-RIDDLE 8-4, at Prescott, Ariz.
The Mariners picked up two more victories with the sweep of the Eagles, winning the final three games of the four-game Cal Pac series. In the first game, the two teams totaled 18 runs on 28 hits, and eight errors--six of MCU's runs were unearned. The Mariners posted eight runs in its first at bat, but the two runs in the 2nd inning proved to be vital as they held off seven unanswered runs by ERAU over the final four innings. Princess Nava led the Mariners with three hits while Morgan Moczygemba, Nicole Barrow, and Sonia Escalera each finished with two hits. Kaila Romero led ERAU with three hits, and Makenzie Hospodka, Meghan Hospodka, Hannah DeLuna, and Carly Carlsen each added two hits. DeLuna, who finished with five RBI in the game, had a double and a home run. In the second game of the day, MCU took the lead in the 2nd inning when Barrow came home on an ERAU error, the first of four Eagle errors that led to three unearned runs. Nava tripled in the 3rd and scored on a single by Johnie Cortez, but the Eagles responded with a run in the home half of the 3rd and the tying run in the 4th. MCU moved ahead with a run in the 5th, and one more in the 6th put them in control until a two-run rally by ERAU in its final at bat tied the game and sent it into extra innings. MCU's Marissa Padilla tripled home Mary Gonzales in the top of the 8th, and pitcher Kaylee Wallingford earned the win by shutting down ERAU in the bottom half of the inning and improving the Mariners to 7-5 in conference and 12-18 for the year. ERAU falls to 6-10 in Cal Pac play and 17-33 overall.