WHITTIER, Calif. — The University of La Verne softball team used a late surge to earn a 10-9 comeback win in the second game of a doubleheader at Palmer Field on Saturday.
The Poets compiled eight runs in the middle innings to take an 8-5 lead but the Leopards exploded four runs in the sixth go ahead, 9-8. Leadoff hitter Rebecca Ireland reached on an error by the shortstop and Raeleen Tellez singled up the middle to set the table for the top of the order. Victoria Baltazar and Danielle Vela promptly followed with singles to cash in the runners and Alexis Schiff launched a double to deep right center to give the Leopards the lead.
Tellez singled in Amanda Chavez in the seventh to give the Leopards an insurance run, which proved crucial. With two outs and a runner on in the bottom of the seventh, Alexandra Flores smacked a double to left center that pulled the Poets within 10-9. But Hayley Jaquess, who came on in relief in the fifth inning, got the following batter to ground out to preserve the win for La Verne.
Jaquess (2-2) picked up the win for La Verne, allowing one earned run while striking out three in three innings.
Ireland launched a two-run home run in the top of the fourth after Whittier broke through with four runs in the third inning to help La Verne keep pace. She went 2-for-4 with two runs and RBI
Vela got the Leopards on the board first with an RBI single in the first and finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs.
Tellez also had three hits and Amanda Chavez and Schiff each had two hits for the Leopards.
Flores finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs for Whittier.
Samantha Blum (5-2) gave up five runs in 1.1 innings of relief and was tagged with the loss for the Poets.
Game 1: Whittier 5, La Verne 2
Whittier slugged two home runs for four runs in the first inning and that was all it would need as the Poets went on defeat La Verne, 5-2, in the first game.
After Schiff put the Leopards on the board first with an RBI single in the top of the first, Emi Shimamoto hit a solo home run and Marialena Ahern followed with a three-run shot to put the Poets up, 4-1.
La Verne starter Katherine Kibbe then allowed just one more run rest of the way but the Leopards couldn't come through with a clutch hit as they left at least one runner on in six of seven innings. The Leopards went 9-for-27 (.333) as a team but left a total of eight runners on base.
The Leopards had a chance to string something together in the sixth but a good defensive play by Whittier stopped the momentum. Amanda Chavez got one back for La Verne with an RBI single with one out but was gunned down at third trying to take an extra bag on a single by Rebecca Ireland.
Schiff, De La Rosa and Ireland each had two hits for La Verne.
Ahern was perfect 3-for-3 for Whittier and Blum earned a complete game victory in the circle.
La Verne returns to action on Monday for a nonconference doubleheader at Campus West against Ithaca. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.