ORANGE, Calif. – The pitching remained stingy and freshman Samantha Tong drove in five RBIs to lead the Chapman University softball team to a doubleheader split of Williams on Monday. Chapman's pitchers allowed just three earned runs as the Panthers completetd their second doubleheader sweep of the season.
Game 1 – W, 10-2
Senior Amber Perez set the tone for the day in the opening inning. The Panthers' left fielder delivered a strike from left field to cut down the runner heading for home to end the inning. The Panthers seized momentum with that play and never let go.
The Panthers manufactured a run in the first and scored against in the second on sophomore Sydney Engelhardt's double to take a 2-0 lead. In the third, the Panthers rallied for four runs to take a commanding 6-0 lead.
Freshman Vanessa Gilles singled in a run and Perez later drew a bases loaded walk to force in another run. Engelhardt hit a hard grounder to short the was misplayed into left field, allowing two more runners to come home for the 6-0 lead. The Panthers sent all nine batters in the lineup to the plate to grab the commanding lead.
The six runs were more than enough for freshman pitcher Sarah Hartmann, who picked up her second win of the year. She retired 11 of the first 15 batters she faced to keep the Ephs off the board. Hartmann allowed just four hits through four innings without issuing a walk. Three more singles in the fifth brought in a run for the visitors and also brought sophomore Samantha Whalen out of the bullpen.
Whalen surrendered a run-scoring single before getting two ground balls to end the inning with Chapman's 6-2 lead intact.
After a scoreless fourth, the Panthers rallied again in the fifth. Perez led off with a double and scored on an error. The Panthers seized the extra opportunity, drawing back-to-back bases loaded walks to make it 9-2. With the bases still loaded, Tong laced a ball in the left center gap to clinch the 10-2 run-rule victory.
Game 2 – W, 4-3
The bats stayed hot to start the nightcap of the doubleheader, especially for Tong. After knocking in the game-clinching run in game one, Tong drove in all four Panther runs in the 4-3 win. She smacked a two-run homer in the first to tie the game at 2-2 and hit a bases loaded single in the second to drive in two more.
The bats cooled off after the hot start as the last 10 Panthers went down in order. Rebecca Duncan tossed three perfect innings for the Ephs to keep her team in the game.
Whalen received all the offensive support she needed in the first two innings to capture her seventh win of the season. She struck out seven without issuing a walk to get the complete game win. She allowed just three hits and two came in the first inning. Jessica Kim hit a two-run homer in the first to give her team the initial lead.
After the first, Whalen settled in to retire 14 of the next 16 batters. She sat down 11 in a row from the third through the seventh. In the seventh, Whalen overcame three errors behind her to preserve the win. Williams plated a run thanks to the errors but left the game-tying run on second base.
The Panthers don't take the field again until April 1 when they visit Claremont-Mudd-Scripps for a noon doubleheader.
by Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director