Softball drops pair to No. 17 Linfield

Softball drops pair to No. 17 Linfield

LA VERNE, Calif. — No. 17 Linfield rode three home runs to earn a doubleheader sweep of the University of La Verne softball team at Campus West on Thursday evening.

Game 1: No. 17 Linfield 8, La Verne 0

Danielle Duman and Erin Kinney each hit a home run and the Leopards couldn't get anything going offensively in an 8-0 loss in Game 1.

Linfield got on the board in the blink of an eye as Grace Middelstadt started the game with a single and steal, and Alissa Buss smacked an RBI triple to left center.

La Verne starter Katherine Kibbe held the Wildcats the next two innings, but Duman led off the top of the fourth with a homer down the left field line and McKenna Spieth doubled in another run to give Linfield a 3-0 lead.

Linfield then exploded for five more runs in the sixth and the Leopards weren't able to respond to extend the game further. The Wildcats put their first three batters on toe load the bases and Erin Carson doubled down the left field line to bring in two. Then Erin Kinney cleared the left field fence for a three-run home run to give to Wildcats an eight-run lead.

Carson and Kinney each went 2-for-4 and combined for five RBI and two runs.

Montana McNealy went all six innings without giving up a run to pick up the win in the circle.

Game 2: No. 17 Linfield 5, La Verne 4

The Leopards fired the first shots in Game 2, but Linfield answered immediately in the next half inning and held on for a 5-4 win.

The Leopards broke through with four runs in the bottom of the third. After BreeAnna De La Rosa led off the inning with a double to deep right center and Raeleen Tellez beat out an infield single, Danielle Vela slapped a doubled down the left field line knock both runners in. Mackenzie Dutton followed with a double to bring Vela home and Alexis Schiff lined one to right to give the Leopards a 4-0 lead.

La Verne starter Rachel Hong got off to a good start in the top of the fourth, inducing leadoff hitter Grace Middelstadt into a groundout, but Linfield roared back with four straight hits capped off by a three-run shot by Duman.

Duman hit it to the opposite field and it didn't look like she got all of the ball. But aided by the wind blowing out to right center, the ball kept carrying and barely cleared the fence to tie the game at 4-4. Hong then hit the next batter Kenzie Schmoll and Spieth tripled to right for what turned out to be the game winner.

The Leopards went down quietly in each of the next three innings but got a golden opportunity to extend or win the game in the bottom of the seventh. De La Rosa drew a leadoff walk and reached second on a sacrifice bunt. Tellez followed with a single and with shrewd baserunning, La Verne put runners on second and third with just one out.

Linfield coach Jackson Vaughan turned to Montana McNealy, the winner of the first game, and McNealy promptly induced two straight outs to preserve the win for the Wildcats

La Verne returns to SCIAC action on Saturday when it travels to Occidental for a doubleheader. First game starts at noon.

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