TUCSON, Ariz. – The University of La Verne softball team earned a split on the final day of the Tucson Invitational Games on Thursday. Its three-game winning streak was halted in the morning game against Central (Iowa), but the Leopards bounced back to beat Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the second game, 8-4.
La Verne used a big 6th inning to rally from an early 4-0 deficit against Wisconsin-Eau Claire. With one swing of the bat, freshman Alexis Schiff tied the game at 4-4 with a three-run homer to left field. Katie Thompson and Katie Cunningham then followed with a walk and a single, respectively, and Laura Olson brought both of them in with a single to right field to put the Leopards up, 6-4.
The Leopards added two insurance runs in the top of the 7th. Schiff and Thompson singled, and Cunningham drew a walk to load the bases. Melisa Sponholz then singled to plate Schiff and Rebecca Ireland worked a bases loaded walk to push across the final run of the game.
Wisconsin-Eau Claire jumped out to an early lead. Amanda Fischer led off the game with a single and two stolen bases to put herself in a scoring position and Nikki Brooks sacrificed her in with a fly out to center. In the 3rd, the Blugolds packed the bases to start the inning and scored on a single, a sacrifice flay and a double later in the inning to increase the lead to 4-0.
However, La Verne starting pitcher Hayley Jaquess gathered herself after the 3rd inning and kept the Blugolds scoreless the rest of the way to give the Leopards a chance. The freshman struck out nine batters in a complete-game effort.
Schiff led the way for the Leopards on offense. Schiff, also a freshman, finished 4-for-4 with three RBIs and three runs scored.
Raven Freret and Cunningham had three hits each.
In the first game of the day, La Verne lost, 10-2, in five innings.
The Leopards gave up four unearned runs in the first inning and never recovered. After Abbey Strajack led off the game with walk, Jordan Overland reached on a fielder's choice error. La Verne starter Lyndsay Godwin grabbed two outs with the next two batters, but could not get out of the inning unscathed. Overland scored on a double steal, Annie Sarcone scored on another error and Katie Canney capped off the inning with a two-run homer to left.
The Dutch had another big inning in the 4th and pulled away from the Leopards. After the first two Dutch hitters singles, Whitney Sowers and Sarcone followed with singles of their own to drive in three. Kaitlyn Matzen also singled later in the inning to add two more for Central.
Katherine Kibbe broke the shutout in the 4th with a pinch-hit solo homerun.
De La Rosa scored Cunningham with a sacrifice fly in the 5th, but the Leopards could not put together more runs extend the game.
The Leopards return to conference action on March 28 against Pomona-Pitzer.Follow La Verne Athletics @ULV_Athletics Like La Verne Athletics on Facebook Sign up for our newsletter