Top-ranked Linfield halts Chapman's win streaks
ORANGE, Calif. – The No. 1 softball team in Division III came to Orange on Friday and put an end to a pair of winning streaks the Panthers had going. Top-ranked Linfield College (Ore.) handed the Chapman University softball team a pair of shutout losses 7-0 and 8-0 at El Camino Real Park to snap the Panthers' seven game winning streak, as well as their six-game home winning streak.
Chapman (15-8), which entered the game with the ninth-highest team batting average in Division III at .382, was held to no runs and nine hits in the two games by Linfield (20-2) pitching. Prior to Friday, the Panthers had been shutout just once this season.
Game 1: Linfield 7, Chapman 0
The Wildcats jumped on top in the first inning thanks to a two-run homer by recently crowned Division III home run queen Staci Doucette. The senior broke the all-time career mark last week and now has 63 dingers in her career. Linfield tacked on two more runs in the third and then three in the fourth on a two-run single by C Emilee Lepp that turned into a three-base run-scoring error, giving the Wildcats a 7-0 lead.
Chapman freshman RHP Cassie Oregel (7-3) settled down after that, shutting out the defending D-III champs over the final three innings and totaling eight strikeouts in the game.
The Panthers collected seven hits off Linfield starter Lauren Harvey (10-1), but were unable to string any of them together to produce a run. Freshman OF Karina Muniz led Chapman, going 2-for-3.
Game 2: Linfield 8, Chapman 0 (6 innings)
The game was scoreless until the third inning when Linfield capitalized on a pair of Chapman errors to plate three runs. Wildcats RHP Karina Paavola (10-1) pitched into and then out of trouble in the bottom of the inning when she walked the first two batters and then went to a full count Chapman senior C Michelle Pitts (ranked No. 3 in the nation in batting). However, Paavola proceeded to strikeout the Panthers' 3-4-5 batters in order (including Pitts) and went on to shutout Chapman on just two hits over six innings.
Leading 5-0 in the sixth inning, Linfield made it a six-inning game (run rule) with three runs in their final at-bat. Wildcats' OF Jaydee Baxter doubled in a pair of runs off Chapman junior RHP Katie Terry (6-3) and then scored on a triple by Lepp. Baxter was 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs, while Lepp led all hitters by going 3-for-4 with two RBI.
Terry surrendered nine hits, but only five of the eight runs allowed were earned. Junior IF Kyla Javier and senior IF Courtney James accounted for the Panthers' two hits in the game.
by Doug Aiken
Sports Information Director