Softball Sweeps Occidental Behind Dominant Pitching

Hayley Jaquess (photo by Kay Hurd)
Hayley Jaquess (photo by Kay Hurd)

LA VERNE – The University of La Verne softball team took both games of its doubleheader against Occidental College on Saturday afternoon at Wheeler Park, limiting the Tigers to just two runs in 13 innings. Hayley Jaquess earned the win in both games to move to 6-4 on the season and 4-1 in SCIAC play.

Jaquess got the start in Game 1 and limited the Tigers to just two hits in five innings. In Game 2, the freshman pitched a clean 8th after the game went into extra innings to pick up the win.

"Hayley is coming into her own," La Verne head coach Julie Smith said. "We believed she was going to be one of our top pitchers."

After allowing at least two runs in four of her first five collegiate appearances, Jaquess has settled in; she has not given up an earned run in seven of her last nine appearances.

"She now has a few games under her belt where she was a little nervous, but once she started feeling her way knowing the kind of pitcher that she can be, she's really become a leader on the mound," Smith added. "It's pretty exciting to watch her."

In Game 1, Rebecca Ireland opened the scoring with an RBI single that brought in Mackenzie Dutton and the Leopard offense broke the game open in the middle innings with seven runs, highlighted by Melisa Sponholz's two-run homerun to straightaway center.

Katherine Kibbe had an RBI each in the 3rd and the 4th. Kibbe also scored a run on a Amanda Chavez sacrifice fly in the 3rd.

Raven Freret and Mackenzie Dutton each had an RBI single in the 4th to give the Leopards an 8-0 lead, which was enough to invoke the run rule.

La Verne was 12-for-20 hitting as a team and every starter recorded at least a hit with the exception of Chavez who sacrificed twice but did not record an at-bat.

Danielle Vela, Breeanna De La Rosa, Freret and Dutton all had two hits.

Game 2 was closer.

Oxy out-hit La Verne, 10 to 8, and Emily Pham pitched six solid innings for the Tigers, but the Leopards were able to come away with the victory on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Katie Cunningham.

The Leopards loaded the bases to start the 8th on two walks and an infield single by Jacklyn Duran, and Dutton—who led off the inning—was able to sprint in on a shallow fly to left.

La Verne scored two runs in the 1st inning but was kept quiet until the final inning. Oxy got on the board in the 5th on an Alex Battest RBI single that scored Jerika Barron and tied it in the top of the 7th when Barron doubled in Jacqueline Shimamoto to force extra innings.

Rachel Hong got the start for the Leopards and gave up just one run in five innings while striking out six.

Shimamoto had a game-high three hits for the Tigers.

La Verne return to action next Saturday when it hosts Cal Lutheran, beginning at noon.

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