LA VERNE – The University of La Verne softball team came close to sweeping No. 18 Redlands but a big Redlands seventh inning cost the Leopards in Game 1 as they settled for a split. Redlands won Game 1, 8-4, and La Verne took Game 2 in five innings, 9-1.
Redlands starter Kaitlyn Hooper was perfect through five innings, but La Verne took advantage of three errors by the Bulldog shortstop Vicki King and scratched together four hits in the sixth inning to get back in the game.
Down 4-0, Rebecca Ireland beat out an infield single to short and advanced third when King muffed a grounder by Katie Thompson and threw it wide right of the first baseman. Laura Olson then singled to left to score Ireland and Vela reached on yet another error by King. BreeAnna De La Rosa and Alexis Schiff followed with a single and a double, respectively, to even the score at 4-4.
But the Bulldogs responded immediately. King led of the top of the seventh with a double and was replaced by pinch runner Aisha Salami, who advanced to third on a wild pitch. Nikoli Sharp followed with a walk and Redlands pulled off a double steal to score the go-ahead run as Danielle Vela unsuccessfully tried to cut off the throw to the second base. Bulldogs then took advantage of lack of control by the Leopard pitchers to tack on three more.
Ireland reached on another error by King with one out in the bottom of the seventh, but the Leopards could not cash in.
The Leopards exploded for eight runs in the fourth and the fifth innings to claim Game 2.
With the game tied at 1-1, the Leopards got a hit in four consecutive at bats to score four runs and Katie Cunningham capped it off with a two-out RBI single to give La Verne a 6-1 lead.
La Verne continued its onslaught in the fifth as it loaded the bases to start the inning. Katherine Kibbe then singled to right to score Olson. Amanda Chavez then scored on another miscue by King at short and Mackenzie Dutton followed with an opposite field single to right to provide a walk-off victory.
La Verne was 13-for-25 as a team at the plate and four players had multiple hits. Ireland had three runs batted in and Kibbe had two.
Kibbe earned the win in the circle, scattering three hits while striking out four. The sophomore is sporting a 0.37 ERA in the last three starts.
The Leopards return to action on Tuesday when it travels to Orange to face Chapman. The first game starts at 3 p.m.Follow La Verne Athletics @ULV_Athletics Like La Verne Athletics on Facebook Sign up for our newsletter