CLAREMONT, Calif. - Senior pitcher Chloe Amarilla celebrated her 22nd birthday by throwing a three-hit shutout in the nightcap to give the No. 11 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team a sweep of Whittier in a SCIAC doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Athena Field.
Freshman pitcher Lauren Richards had five RBI to give herself the win in the circle in a 6-4 win in the opening game as the Athenas improve to 18-5 overall and remain perfect in the SCIAC at 12-0. Whittier sees its record fall to 8-12-1 and 5-7 in league play with the losses.
The doubleheader featured two of the top offensive teams in the SCIAC with both coming in with team batting averages well over .300. However, the nightcap featured only five hits combined, with Amarilla holding Whittier to three, and sophomore outfielder Molly Spaniac getting both for the Athenas.
CMS was able to get two runs across in the first inning, which held up as the only runs the rest of the way. Amarilla led off with a walk and moved to second on a single from Spaniac. After a wild pitch moved the runners up a base, sophomore designated player Megan Perron hit a line drive to right field that was caught, but scored Amarilla from third for a sacrifice fly to make the score 1-0. Sophomore first baseman Megan Valdez then followed with a successful squeeze bunt, with Spaniac sliding home under the tag with the second run.
Amarilla allowed two singles in the third inning, but the threat was erased with one out when Richards fielded a ground ball at shortstop, stepped on second and fired on to first for a double play. The Athenas then had a 1-2-3 inning in the sixth when Richards made a great defensive snag in the hole at shortstop for the first out and Amarilla snagged a liner with a reflex catch. The defense did make two errors in the seventh to give Whittier a hint of life, but Richards fielded a grounder to get a forceout, then caught an easy popup to end the game.
SB: Ball Game! It's a shutout for the birthday girl as Chloe Amarilla finishes off a three-hitter with this pop up to short for a 2-0 win. She can now celebrate a birthday ������ AND a doubleheader sweep ��— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) March 23, 2019
CMS now 12-0 in the SCIAC! pic.twitter.com/wT1yA2Wgjo
The doubleheader began as if there would be offensive fireworks throughout, as Whittier scored three runs in the top of the first, only to be answered by four runs from the Athenas in the bottom half. Freshman first baseman Ananya Koneti drove home the first run with an RBI single, and Richards then drove a ball into the right-center field gap to clear the bases and score three runs, making the score 4-3.
Richards helped her own cause even more in the third inning with a two-run double to right field, scoring Koneti, who walked, and sophomore center fielder Kawai Scanlan, who singled, pushing the lead to 6-3.
SB: There's helping yourself and then there's this. Richards, pitching in the circle, has driven in five runs in her first two at bats as she starts the train to home plate going with this double. CMS 6-3 after 3. pic.twitter.com/CvIdl9tUAe— CMS Athletics (@AthleticsCMS) March 23, 2019
After giving up the three early runs, Richards settled in and got through the middle innings unscathed, picking up a key strikeout in the sixth with runners on second and third and two outs. The Poets then started the seventh inning with three straight hits to close the lead to 6-4 and put the tying run on base, but Amarilla made a key defensive play to snag a grounder and step on third for a force. Spaniac then ran down a long foul ball in deep left field for the second out, and Richards coaxed the final out on a routine grounder to junior Kylie Hetzel at second.
Spaniac finished the opener 2-for-3, giving her four hits for the doubleheader, while Richards was 2-for-3 with two doubles and five RBI, while improving to 11-2 in the circle with the win.
CMS will be back in action next weekend for four SCIAC road games, taking on Redlands on Friday and Chapman on Saturday as it looks to continue with its current win streak in conference play.