LA VERNE, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team began SCIAC play on Saturday with a doubleheader against the reigning conference champions, the University of La Verne Leopards. In the rematch of last season's SCIAC Championship Game, the Leopards rallied from behind late to take Game One 5-3. A three-run big fly from Carly Roleder (CMC) was all the Athenas needed in Game Two behind a complete-game shutout from Chloe Amarilla (CMC) as CMS went on to win 3-0 to split the day.
Game One - La Verne defeats CMS 5-3
Anna Gurr (CMC) and her defense made the bottom of the first a quick one. Gurr struck out one and the inning ended with a diving play by the shortstop, Roleder.
The bottom of the second followed suit as Gurr struck out her second batter of the game and Roleder's defense was on point with another diving web gem.
Gurr held the Leopards hitless until Melissa Garcia singled to left with one out in the bottom of the fifth. The CMS defense left the La Verne runner stranded, keeping the game in a scoreless tie. The CMS bats were also quiet through the beginning of the contest. The Athenas finally got on the board in the top half of the sixth, scoring three runs to take a 3-0 lead. Molly Spaniac (CMC) launched her first career home run to right to opening the scoring. With the momentum on the Athenas' side, Amarilla dropped a bloop single into shallow right field for her third hit of the game. Roleder stepped up to the plate next and roped a wall-banging double to right center, bringing Amarilla across. Kawai Scanlan (SC) singled up the middle for her first career base knock to bring in one more to push the advantage to 3-0.
La Verne answered back loudly in their half of the sixth frame. A bases loaded single put the Leopards on the board and a sacrifice fly cut the Athena lead to one. With two on and two outs, Garcia crushed a ball to deep left to put La Verne on top 5-3.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Savannah Green (CMC) sent a pinch-hit single to center and Reeve Grobecker (CMC) reached on an error as the Athenas attempted a comeback. Their efforts fell short, however, as the Leopards hung on to win 5-3.
Amarilla recorded three hits to lead the offense. Roleder collected a hit and an RBI while producing her own highlight reel on defense with three diving plays.
Gurr no-hit the Leopards through four and a third and struck out three batters in her six innings in the circle. She gave up five earned runs in the sixth, taking the loss to and falling to 1-1 on the season.
Game Two - CMS defeats La Verne 3-0
The Athenas avenged their Game One loss in the second half of the twin bill. Amarilla got the start in Game Two and went the distance, tossing a complete-game shutout.
Roleder started the game with a bang, giving the Athenas a quick three-run lead. Grobecker led off the top of the first with a double to left field, and Amarilla stayed hot with a single to left, putting two on for Roleder. Her shot to dead center gave CMS a 3-0 advantage before they took the field on defense.
La Verne starting pitcher, Jiana Rojo, settled in after the first inning and silenced the Athena bats for the duration of the game.
Three runs was all CMS needed to take Game Two and split the doubleheader with the Leopards.
Amarilla had a day, adding two hits to bring her total to five. She went all seven innings in the circle, striking out four and giving up just two hits.
With the win, the Athenas improve to 2-1 on the season and 1-1 in SCIAC play. They take a break from conference play to face Linfield College on Friday, Feb. 16 at home. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m.