Two softball games between the University of La Verne and Occidental College amounted to a total of four runs and a doubleheader split as the Leopards opened with a 1-0 victory followed by a 2-1 verdict in favor of the Tigers Saturday afternoon at Wheeler Park
Leopard pitching was stellar in holding Occidental without a run for the first 13 innings of the twinbill. After posting a shutout in the opener, the Leos were on the brink of another 1-0 win until a two-run uprising by the Tigers in the seventh inning of Game 2 was enough for the visitors to pull out a 2-1 win over the Leos to escape with a split.
In the opener, both teams were scoreless until the bottom of the seventh when Danielle Vela hit the game-winning single to lift the Leopards to victory.
La Verne threatened in the bottom of the sixth on a singles from Melisa Sponholz and Vela along with a walk to Raven Freret to load the bases with two out. Vacura was able to work out of a jam by inducing an inning-ending popout to the catcher to keep the game in a scoreless tie.
The Leos finally broke through an inning later when Candice Nunez reached on a throwing error, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and moved to third on yet another Tiger fielding error. That set the stage for Vela, who singled through the right side to plate Nunez for the game-winning run.
Ho registered the win by pitching the final five innings without a hit while totaling six strikeouts.
Game 2 was more of the same as the Leopards jumped out to an early lead and continued to held the Tigers scoreless for six innings.
La Verne scored its lone run in the bottom of the first when a triple from Freret drove in Vela to put the Leos on top, 1-0.
Leopard starter Rachel Hong dominated for six innings, yielding no Tiger hits during that span.
Despite allowing nine hits, Oxy starting pitcher Amber Garlan kept the Leopards without a run over the next six innings. The Leopards had a runner reach second base in five of the innings but could not add another run.
In the top of the seventh, Jacqueline Shimamoto smacked a one-single for the Tigers' first hit of the game. With two on and two out, Kristine Kocjan hit a two-run double to score Shimamoto and Ashley Noone for a 2-1 lead.
La Verne would threaten in the bottom half as a single from Vela and a double from Hong gave the Leos runners at second and third with two outs. However, the threat ended when Garlan induced the final out on a liner by Freret to centerfield to close the contest.
Vela, Hong and Mackenzie Dutton each had two hits for the Leopards, who move to 9-3 overall and 5-3 in conference play. The Tigers move to 6-8 overall and 1-5 in league action.
The Leopards hit the road on Sunday to face the University of Redlands in a SCIAC doubleheader beginning at noon.