LA VERNE, Calif. — Rachel Hong shook off a shaky start and turned in a gritty performance in the circle to help the University of La Verne softball team beat Whitworth, 5-2, in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Campus West softball field on Saturday afternoon.
Hong allowed four hits, walked in the first run and gave up two runs in a tough first inning. But the senior never lost her composure and scattered just four hits without giving up a run in the final six innings to earn a complete game victory.
And after being held scoreless in the first game, La Verne offense woke up late in the afternoon-cap to back up Hong.
A pair of freshman sparked the offense in the bottom of the fifth inning. Raeleen Tellez slapped a single up the middle and came around to score when Jacqueline Kusterer's routine comebacker was hauled into right field by Whitworth pitcher Makayla Lefever. Danielle Vela then singled Kusterer home, Amanda Chavez drove in Vela with a double to deep right center and the Leopards took a 4-2 lead.
Hong held in the top of the sixth and the Leopards added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Victoria Baltazar drew a two-out walk and then Vela smacked a double over the left fielder to bring the freshman home.
Hong gave up a two-out walk of her own in the top of the seventh but struck out Megan John to secure the win for La Verne.
Whitworth pounded the Leopards with eight runs in the first inning and the Leopards never got going offensively in an 8-0 loss in Game 1.
Five Pirates recorded a hit before La Verne starter Hayley Jaquess managed an out in the first inning and Whitworth collected eight hits to get out to a big lead.
To Jaquess's credit, she held the Pirates to just one hit rest of the way, but the offense could not string any hits together. The closest La Verne got to threatening was in the bottom of the fifth when BreeAnna De La Rosa led off with a single and Baltazar beat out a dribbler to the pitcher to put two runners on with just one out. But the next batter hit into a fielder's choice, Kate Cunningham drilled a liner right at the right fielder and the Leopards failed to extend the game.
La Verne moves to 2-2 overall.
The Leopards return to action next Sunday, Feb. 8 when it hosts another Northwestern Conference opponent, Puget Sound.
On Feb. 7, La Verne will welcome back its alumni for their annual Alumni Game.Follow La Verne Athletics on Twitter @ULVAthletics Follow La Verne Athletics on Instagram @ULVAthletics
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