LA VERNE, Calif. — The University of La Verne softball team earned a 9-0 run-rule victory in the second game of a doubleheader against Redlands to earn a split on Saturday at Campus West softball field. The Bulldogs won the first game 14-7.
Katy Kibbe scattered five hits and struck out two to earn her sixth win of the season.
"My game plan was to keep the ball down, especially against this team, because if you don't they will take advantage," Kibbe said. "I wanted to keep them off balance and make them swing at my pitches, not theirs."
Alexis Schiff and BreeAnna De La each hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning to stake the Leopards out to an early 5-0 lead.
The Leopards then strung together four hits in the fifth to score four runs and end the game early. Mackenzie Dutton led off with a double, Schiff followed with another hit and both came around to score on a throwing error by Redlands pitcher Lauren Henson. Tori Baltazar added a RBI single and Kimberly Dilda smacked a two-RBI double to walk off.
The Leopards started hot in the first game, chasing Redlands starter Courtny Ludlow in the first inning after tagging her for four hits and two walks to score five runs. But the offense stalled and Redlands erupted for 12 runs in the final three innings to take a 14-7 win.
The Leopards did collect 16 hits on the game but couldn't come up with enough timely hits as they left 12 runners on base.
La Verne split their last five doubleheaders, sometimes looking like two different teams in the same day.
"What it's going to take is what happened in the second game," La Verne coach Julie Smith said when asked what it would take to start a hot streak. "Our pitching was dominant, we got the timely hits and defense was solid. Those three things ensure wins. In the first game, we left 12 on base. The hits have to be timely or it won't work."
With first half of SCIAC play in the books, the Leopards sit in fourth place with a 7-7 record but will need to string some wins together to secure a spot to the SCIAC Postseason Tournament. "There's not a lot of separation in our conference as far as skill level," Smith added. "It's about who's going to have those elements together in key moments."
La Verne returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts east coast power Williams for a non-conference doubleheader.
"Playing a team like Williams, who's perennially ranked, shows national observers that La Verne can compete with the best of them," Smith said.