CLAREMONT, Calif. - The No. 12 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team had its hot bats cooled off in a 5-1 loss to Denison in the opening game of a doubleheader on Tuesday, but the Athenas bounced back to take the nightcap to salvage a split at Athena Field.
With the split, CMS now stands at 15-4 on the season, navigating a stretch of four doubleheaders in five days (two against top 10 teams in the country) with a 6-2 record. Denison, which opened its season on Monday with a split at Pomona-Pitzer, moves to 2-2 on the year.
The opener saw an impressive streak come to an end as freshman Lauren Richards suffered her first collegiate defeat in the pitching circle after starting out 10-0. Richards allowed three earned runs over 4.1 innings, but CMS managed just four hits in the opener and couldn't overcome an early deficit as Denison picked up a run in the second and two in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. The Athenas had come in with a whopping 49 runs over their last four games, including 20 in a doubleheader sweep of No. 10 Williams on Monday.
The nightcap, though, saw CMS come back to life on offense as it jumped out to an early 6-0 lead with a run in the first and five in the second. Sophomores Molly Spaniac and Megan Perron singled in the first inning, with Spaniac coming home on an RBI groundout from freshman first baseman Ananya Koneti to make the score 1-0.
Senior right fielder Rachel Perley led off with a walk in the second and was sacrificed over by junior second baseman Kylie Hetzel. Freshman infielder Alexa Schulten then lined a pitch into center field to score a run and make the score 2-0, before senior pitcher Chloe Amarilla walked to put two runners on.
Spaniac put down a sacrifice bunt and reached safely when the throw to first was low, loading the bases with one out, and Perron came through with a bullet of a ground ball that got through the infield and rolled all the way to the wall in right-center, resulting in a three-run triple. Sophomore catcher Maddie Valdez added a sacrifice fly to score Perron and make it a 6-0 game.
The Athenas had to withstand some pressure, though, as Emilie Fisher hit a big three-run double with two outs in the fourth to cut the lead in half. Denison loaded the bases again in the fifth, and CMS went to freshman reliever Lexi Singh, who worked out of the jam allowing only a sacrifice fly to make the score 6-4.
CMS then took the momentum back in the bottom of the fifth inning as Richards lined an RBI double down the left field line to stretch the lead to 7-4. Singh retired the side in order in the sixth, and the Athenas tacked on three more runs in the bottom half, with Valdez hitting an RBI single and Richards followed with a two-run single to give her three RBI on the game and make the score 10-4.
Denison pushed a run across in the seventh, but Perley ended the game with another sparkling defensive play in shallow right field, sliding across the ground to catch a ball off the grasstops to end the game.
Perron was 3-for-4 with three RBI in the nightcap, while Richards finsihed 2-for-4 with three RBI. Singh picked up her first collegiate save with 2.2 innings of solid relief, allowing three hits and one run, after also throwing 2.2 innings in the opening game and allowing only two hits.
CMS will be back in action at home on Thursday for another non-conference doubleheader against Cortland before hosting Whittier on Saturday in a SCIAC twinbill.