LA VERNE, Calif. – Two late leads slipped away as visiting Whitworth dropped both halves of a non-conference softball doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at the University of La Verne. The Leopards won 3-2 and 4-2 to open the season 2-0 while the Pirates concluded their season-opening trip to California with a 3-3 record.
Game 1 – La Verne 3, Whitworth 2
The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the third, but the Leopards tallied single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings to pull out the come-from-behind win.
Jamie Brunner's sacrifice fly in the third got Whitworth on the board. Megan John then drew a bases-loaded walk with two out to dive in the second run. But the Bucs left the bases loaded in the inning.
Laura Olson scored La Verne's first run on a passed ball in the bottom of the third. Raven Freret singled home the tying run in the bottom of the fifth inning, but Whitworth pitcher Taylor Gilbert got out of the inning with the bases still loaded.
Whitworth got a pair of hits in the top of the sixth, but could not get the go-ahead run across. Then Breeanna De La Rosa drove in the winning run with a two-out single up the middle in the bottom of the inning.
Again the Pirates got the first two runners on base in the seventh inning. But both runners were stranded as ULV pitcher Ashley Moore escaped with three straight outs.
Gilbert (1-2) went the distance in the circle, allowing only one earned run on seven hits. She struck out one and walked four. Moore earned the win with 4.1 innings of five-hit shutout relief.
John went 2-2 at the plate for the Pirates.
Game 2 – La Verne 4, Whitworth 2
The Pirates took leads of 1-0 and 2-1, but the Leopards rallied with three runs in the bottom of the sixth to pull out the doubleheader sweep.
After La Verne tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, the Pirates retook the lead in the top of the sixth. Pinch runner Brittany Connor came home to score on a play that was ruled an error on the catcher.
In the bottom of the inning Candice Nunez singled home the tying run with one out. Gilbert came on in relief with one out and two runners on base. Gilbert struggled to find the zone and three straight walks led to a 3-2 La Verne lead. Rachel Hong singled home the final run.
Riley Fritz (2-1) pitched four innings in relief of starter Megan Fisher for the Pirates. She was credited with all four runs on four hits with one strikeout and one walk. Katherine Kibbe earned the win in relief for the Leopards.
Whitworth is now off until February 23rd when the Pirates open Northwest Conference play at NCAA Division III runner up Linfield College.