Softball sweeps Puget Sound

Softball sweeps Puget Sound

LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne softball team swept Puget Sound on Saturday behind an offense that exploded for 10 late runs in Game 1 and a solid pitching performance by Hayley Jaquess in Game 2.

Game 1: La Verne 10, Puget Sound 5

The Leopards, who couldn't string together any hits in the first four innings, finally got to Puget Sound's starter Jaci Young in the fifth inning.

Katie Cunningham led off the inning with a single and the Leopards loaded the bases after Danielle Vela and Rebecca Ireland also got on the bases with a pair of singles. Then Victoria Baltazar broke the scoring seal with a line drive to center, Vela came home on a dropped fly and the Leopards chased Young with a two-RBI single to center by Alexis Schiff.

Mackenzie Dutton then pushed a go-ahead single through the right side (see video) and Cunningham, who was batting for the second time in the inning, cleared the bases with a triple down the right field line.

The Leopards added three more runs in the sixth. Vela and Ireland started the inning off with a double and a single, respectively, and both came around to score when Baltazar singled to right center and a relay throw was botched by the Loggers.

Puget Sound scratched together another run on an error, a hit and a walk in the seventh and looked to get a rally going. But Marissa Jeffers, who drove in the run with a two-out single, was thrown out trying to take an extra base to give La Verne the victory.

Katherine Kibbe got the start in the circle for the Leopards and went the distance despite shaky middle innings. She gave up two unearned runs while striking out seven.

Ireland was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate and scored two runs. Baltazar was 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBI.

Amber Popovich was 3-for-4 for Puget Sound and Bailee Larson went 2 for 4 with two RBI.

Game 2: La Verne 4, Puget Sound 2

La Verne fell behind early once again as the Loggers got out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on a two-out, two-RBI single by Kristi Nagamine, but responded more promptly in Game 2.

In the bottom of the second, Dutton got on with a single up the middle and Cunningham ripped a triple down the right field line to bring Dutton in. The Leopards then used consecutive doubles by Baltazar and Schiff in the third to grab a 3-2 lead and never looked back.

La Verne added an insurance run in the sixth with a suicide squeeze by Ireland.

Jaquess earned her first win of the season in the circle, going six innings while striking out four. Kibbe closed the door in the seventh to notch her first save of the season.

Ireland and Cunningham each had two hits for La Verne.

Up next: La Verne begins conference play next Saturday, Feb. 14, when it travels to Cal Lutheran.

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