ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University softball team split a doubleheader with Piedmont College (8-8) earlier tonight. The Panthers (5-5) dropped the first game 7-3 but rallied in the second to overcome a first-inning deficit and notch an 8-1 victory.
Game 1 – L, 3-7
After a quick first inning, Chapman scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the second. Senior Sarah Taketa walked, followed by a sacrifice bunt from junior Elizabeth Runge that advanced Taketa to second. Sophomore Vanessa Gilles then grounded out to the pitcher, advancing Taketa to third. Junior pitcher Samantha Whalen stepped up to the plate and singled through the left side, scoring Taketa and giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
The Lions answered with a huge six-run inning in the top of the third. Three consecutive singles up the middle loaded the bases with just one out. Piedmont then hit back-to-back singles, scoring two runs while keeping the bases loaded. Lions junior Becka Ross was up next and tripled through the right side, scoring three runs with still just one out. Whalen struck out the next batter, which brought up junior Haley Hixon. Hixon singled up the middle, scoring Ross from third and giving Piedmont a 6-1 lead.
The Panthers scored one run in each of the third and fourth innings, but it was not enough to take the victory. While in the circle, Whalen struck out five batters and walked one. Senior Kristen Weiser and Whalen each went 2-for-3 with an RBI in game one.
Game 2 – W, 8-1
After going down 1-0 in the top of the first, the Panthers rallied to take the victory. The first four-run inning came in the second inning. After a 1-2-3 top of the inning from sophomore pitcher Sarah Hartmann, it was Chapman's turn to go on offense.
With a runner on first and one out, freshman Lagi Pakola stepped up to the plate and doubled to left center, scoring one. After a single and another out, it was time for a Panther two-out rally. With runners on first and second, it was sophomore Sarah Sumida's turn at the plate. A crucial error allowed Sumida to reach first and two runs to score. Another error and a walk put runners on first and second for Chapman with Taketa up to the plate. Taketa hit a grounder to the second baseman, but an error allowed her to reach first and for another run to score, putting the Panthers up 4-1 in the second.
Chapman waited until the fourth inning to score the rest of its runs. With runners on second and third, freshman Jordyn Krohn hit a monster triple to deep center field, scoring two. After a Lions pitching change, freshman Madee Brunn reached on a fielder's choice that also scored Krohn. Another Piedmont error allowed Brunn to score, giving the Panthers their final 8-1 lead.
Hartmann led Chapman through the final two innings, allowing just two hits. The sophomore pitched a complete game, striking out two and only allowing seven total hits. Krohn went a perfect 1-for-1 as a reserve, tallying two RBIs and a run. Fellow freshman Pakola went 2-for-4 with one RBI.
The Panthers head to Tucson, Ariz. For the Tucson Invitational Games where they will play six games over the course of three days. They return to El Camino Real Park on Friday, March 16 at 3 p.m. to take on Western Conn. State in a non-conference doubleheader.
by Katie Bell
Sports Information Assistant