Athenas advance to NCAA Regional Championship game
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REDLANDS, Calif. - The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas came out undefeated in the first day of the NCAA Redlands Regional. In the round robin games, No. 22 CMS beat No. 2 Linfield (2-1) and conference foe No. 25 Redlands (8-5).
In the final game on Friday, Redlands beat Linfield (7-6), eliminating them from the tournament. CMS faces Redlands for the ninth time of the season in the championship game at 12 p.m. on Saturday.
Against Linfield, CMS got behind junior ace Hayley Schultz. The Wildcats, known for explosive offense, were limited to just three hits.
Linfield jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a double by Erin Carson. The Athenas answered back in the bottom of the frame by capitalizing on a leadoff walk to sophomore Janelle Shiozaki and then loading up the bases with singles by sophomores Tara Robinson and Katie Savard before Carlene Roberts was hit by a pitch to score Shiozaki.
Roberts earned the game's only other RBI in the bottom of the third hitting a sac fly out to center field, plating Tara Robinson.
The game came down to executing on defense, especially in the last inning. Linfield got their lead off on with a single and then CMS' middle infielders made two consecutive heads up defensive plays to get the lead runner at second base, keeping runners out of scoring position.
In the second game against Redlands, the Athenas got off to a bit of a slow start before putting together a six-run fifth inning.
Chasing two runs, freshmen Alexa Heydenberk and Melanie Carlson started the rally with consecutive base hits. Senior Morgan Beltz followed with an RBI single plating Heydenberk from second. With two outs and the bases loaded after a walk to senior Megan Latta, Tara Robinson lined a single up the middle to knock in a pair of Athenas. With two outs and runners on the corners, sophomore Brooklyn Robinson hit a rocket shot over the right-center fence to put CMS up 6-2.
Redlands punched back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth off a double by Amanda Lievanos and a single up the middle from Kristen Hooper. The Bulldogs stranded three when the Athenas' sophomore first baseman Katie Savard nabbed a line drive, saving it from shooting down the right field line, to end the inning.
CMS tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the second with another long ball by Brooklyn Robinson, this time sailing high over the left center fence. Robinson led the team with five RBI in the game.
After starting the second game as well, Schultz re-entered to relieve freshman Kaylilani Minami and to secure the save.
Tara Robinson had four hits on the day, continually setting the table by getting on base for the following hitters.
The Athenas hit the 30 win mark on the season for the fifth year in a row and advance to the championship game of the NCAA Regional at 12 p.m. against Redlands' at UR's "Field of Dreams."
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