CLAREMONT, Calif. - Senior Chloe Amarilla threw a complete-game four-hitter in the opener, and freshman Lauren Richards followed with a complete game with nine strikeouts in the nightcap as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team opened SCIAC play with a doubleheader sweep of Chapman on Saturday at Athena Field.
With the sweep, the Athenas improve to 3-2 on the season and 2-0 in the SCIAC, while the Panthers start out 0-4 overall and 0-2 in league play.
Both games were tied 1-1 late when CMS had big hits to take the lead. Sophomore Maddie Valdez snapped a 1-1 tie in the opener with a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the sixth, and Richards helped her own cause with an RBI single to break a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fifth in the nightcap.
Valdez also gave CMS a 1-0 lead in the third inning of the opener with a sacrifice fly to third and tied the score 1-1 in the nightcap with an RBI double in the third, as she finished the day with three of the seven Athena runs batted in.
After Valdez scored Amarilla with an opposite-field sacrifice fly, Chapman came right back to tie the score in the top of the fourth inning, when Samantha Whalen tripled and came home as a hard one-hop grounder from Samantha Tong was mishandled.
The score remained deadlocked, until Valdez led off the bottom of the sixth with a long fly ball down the left field line that cleared the fence for her second home run of the year.
The Athenas then loaded the bases and tacked on an insurance run, as junior catcher Savannah Green was denied a hit by a diving catch in shallow center from Chapman's Christine LoVerde, but it resulted in a sacrifice fly, scoring sophomore center fielder Kawai Scanlan.
After a throwing error added another CMS run, sophomore shortstop Jessica Fox came up with a key defensive play in the top of the seventh, diving to her left and making the throw from her knees to get the second out of the inning. After Chapman got its next two runners on to bring the tying run to the plate, Amarilla got the last out on a strike out looking, painting the inside corner with a screwball on a 2-2 count.
SB: Ball Game! With the tying run at the plate, Amarilla paints the inside corner with a 2-2 pitch for a backwards K to finish off a 4-1 win. Game two coming up about 2:30. pic.twitter.com/fK1xJUCz7M— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) February 16, 2019
Senior right fielder Rachel Perley had two hits in the opener to lead the CMS offense, while Scanlan, Valdez, Green and sophomore designated player Megan Perron each had one.
The nightcap saw Richards go the distance for her first collegiate win without allowing an earned run, while also providing the game-winning hit. The only run she allowed was in the second inning on an error, but she held Chapman to just the one run by working out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam, fielding a comebacker herself for the third out.
In the third, Scanlan threw out a potential insurance run at the plate trying to score from second on a single for the final out of the top half, and Valdez had an RBI double in the bottom half to even the score. Chapman loaded the bases again in the fourth, but freshman first baseman Ananya Koneti came home to get a forceout for the second out, and junior second baseman Kylie Hetzel easily handled a slow grounder to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Athenas were able to break the deadlock, as Amarilla started things off with a single the other way. After sophomore left fielder Molly Spaniac sacrificed her over, Richards broke the tie with an RBI triple down the right field line. Scanlan then added an insurance run when she singled to right with two outs to make the score 3-1.
Richards struck out three batters in the sixth around a two-out error, and retired the side in order in the seventh on two groundouts and foul pop-up behind home plate, which Valdez secured for the third out and the sweep.
SB: Richards with another 3-K inning! Gets the last one looking on the inside corner. CMS leads 3-1 heading to B6. pic.twitter.com/FTm7XPMIOC— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) February 17, 2019
Amarilla finished 3-for-4 at the plate in the nightcap, while Valdez added two hits. Richards threw 116 pitches to get her complete-game victory, 69 for strikes, while scattering seven hits, striking out nine and walking two.
CMS will be back in action next weekend when it travels to Cal Lutheran for a SCIAC doubleheader on Saturday.