THOUSAND OAKS, CA -- CMS Softball (9-2, 6-0 SCIAC) traveled to Thousand Oaks Saturday to take on Cal Lutheran in more first half SCIAC action. Game times were moved up two hours in an effort to miss the oncoming storm, with Game 1 starting at 10am.
The Athenas got busy quickly scoring in the top of the second on a clutch pinch-hit RBI single from Kara Mantani (JR, Redwood City).
In the top of the third, Harmony Palmer led off explosively with a solo shot well over the centerfield fence. The Oceanside freshman is currently hitting at a torrid .486 pace. Chelsea Baker (JR, Tucson), 2-4 with 2 runs and 2 RBIs in the game, kept the inning going with a single. She advanced to second on an infield single by Rebecca King (SO, Bellevue, WA) setting the table for Melissa Muñoz (JR, Union City). Munoz' shot to left, inches shy of another home run, bounced off the tubing atop the fence for a double, plating both Baker and King. Emily Nordhoff (SO, Seattle) followed with a shot off the wall herself, scoring Munoz and taking her place at second. The inning ended with 4 runs on 5 hits, stranding one.
The top of the fourth saw continued the offensive assault as Emily Lopez (SO, Fresno) singled and scored on the 2 run homer by Baker. With the score 7-0, the Athenas went scoreless in the top of fifth before closing out the run-rule victory in the 6th 8-0.
The Athenas played stellar defense behind pitcher, Rebecca Gularte (SO, Sunnyvale, [pictured left]) committing zero errors in the game and exciting the crowd with several "web-gems." Gularte pitched an outstanding game scattering just 5 hits while walking 3 and striking out 2 in a game that did not see a Regal reach third base one time. The sophomore continues to lead the charge for the squad from the circle and has quickly amassed an impressive 5-1 record and 1.39 ERA.
Game 2 began less explosively on the offensive side, but picked right up on the defensive end as Emma Friedenberg (SO, Danville, [pictured right]) stepped in where Gularte left off. Through the first four, the young hurler was working on a "no-no" (no runs, no hits) having complete control of the game.
Her teammates took a while to get started offensively, but in the top of the fifth, junior Gizelle Pera's (Los Angeles) two-out triple off the wall plated Emily Nordhoff from first. Having broken the ice, Palmer immediately singled Pera in for the second run of the game.
Though Friedenberg's no-no was broken in the bottom half on a bloop single, it only strengthened her resolve. Indeed, the bloop would be the sum total of Regal hitting for the game. In a show of support and some insurance, the Athenas put up a 4 spot in the top of the seventh on another clutch two-out rally. The scoring was led by the hot bat of Baker, who plated 2 with a key single, followed by King with another timely 2 RBI single. At the end of six, the squad sat atop a 6-0 lead.
Friedenberg quickly retired the side, 1-2-3, to finish the outing with a remarkable one hit, one walk and three strike outs. The second half of the tandem duo in the circle, Friedenberg is now 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA on the season.
Totals on the day were impressive on both sides of the ball. The Athenas amassed 14 runs on 16 hits while committing 0 errors in thirteen innings of play. Swinging the bats with confidence, the squad hit 2 home runs, 1 triple and 4 doubles, all five of which came off shots to the wall. Gularte and Friedenberg on the day allowed just six hits, while striking out five and walking four. No runner reached third for Cal Lu in either game with just four Regals reaching second.
The Athenas are back in action at home against regional foe, University of Mary Hardin Baylor, Wednesday, March 17th at noon.