CLAREMONT, Calif. – In a rematch of last year's NCAA Regional, the No. 15 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team went toe to toe with Linfield College out of the Northwest Conference for a split on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats took the first game 9-4 after a 15 hit offensive onslaught. Then, the Athenas rallied back to win the second game handing Linfield their second shutout on the season, 8-0 in five innings. At this point, CMS is the only team in SCIAC to take a game from Linfield.
Game 1: Linfield 9, CMS 4 – Box Score
The first inning was scoreless but both teams stranded players on the bases and had excellent defensive plays on lead runners, sparking playoff energy.
Linfield struck first in the second inning, plating four runs off four singles. Junior Molly Rubidoux (CMC) relieved CMS starter freshman Anna Gurr (CMC) in the second inning with two runners on and just one out. Rubidoux got out of the jam with two successive outs.
Rubidoux pitched two more shutdown innings in arguably her best outing so far this season.
The Athenas answered back with two of their own runs in the bottom of the second. Juniors Mikayla O'Neal (CMC) and Carlene Roberts (CMC) scored when freshman Carly Roleder (CMC) hit a bases loaded, two out double that bounced over the right field fence.
CMS tied up the game in the bottom of the third inning with its aggressive base running. O'Neal had an RBI infield single and then stole second base on the next pitch. In an attempt to get O'Neal, Linfield's catcher threw the ball past second base, allowing junior Katie Savard (CMC) to trot home and tie the game.
Linfield's lefty hurler, Montana McNealy, entered the games with a stout 0.54 ERA. After the third inning, she held the Athenas scoreless for four innings to finish the game and earn her ninth win on the season.
The Wildcats put together another four run inning in the fifth and tacked on their ninth run in the top of the seventh for the win. Erin Tauscher, Cheyenne Fletcher and Erin Carson each had multiple hits in a game that every Linfield player who stepped to the played recorded a hit.
Game 2: CMS 8, Linfield 0 (5 inn.) – Box Score
In the second game, CMS scored first, putting a run on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Alexa Heydenberk (CMC) gained third base on a throwing error by the shortstop and then scored as the ball knocked around in foul territory.
In the third inning, junior Tara Robinson (CMC) sparked the Athenas with an infield single that resulted in a seven run inning for the team. Sharp hits by juniors Brooklyn Robinson (SCR), O'Neal and Janelle Shiozaki moved runners around the bases as Linfield struggled to get outs. A pair of walks and a hit batter forced in three more runs for CMS.
Following the big inning, sophomore starting pitcher Andrea Jewett (CMC) stifled the Wildcats' attempts to score with a strike out to end the top of the fourth inning with two runners on base.
Jewett and the Athena defense only allowed three hits in the game. Jewett improves to 5-0 on the season and earns the first shutout in her only complete game of her career.
CMS (14-4) turns its attention back to SCIAC as it has only conference opponents remaining on the schedule. At 8-2 in SCIAC, CMS sits in second place. The Athenas travel to Redlands on March 27 for games at 3 and 5 p.m. before returning to Athena Field March 28 to face La Verne at 12 and 2 p.m.
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