Softball holds on for the win

The Lady Eagles’ offense returned to form on Sunday.

Senior+catcher%2C+Kayla+Neff%2C+gets+ready+to+hit+the+ball.

File | THE CHIMES

Senior catcher, Kayla Neff, gets ready to hit the ball.

Joey Mistretta, Freelance Writer

Biola softball traveled to San Marcos on Sunday, Feb 2. for a matchup against the California State University, San Marcos Cougars. The Eagles came into the game with a 2-2 record after winning their first two games but dropping their last two contests. Biola was hoping to get their offense going as they had only scored a combined total of five runs over their previous three games. Biola was able to piece some runs together and win this game 6-5. 

THE RUNDOWN

The game was a relatively low scoring back-and-forth affair. The Cougars started the scoring with one run in the third. Biola then answered in the fourth with a run before taking the lead in the fifth with one more run. Cal State San Marcos responded to the Eagles in the bottom of the fifth with a run of their own. However, with nobody out and the bases loaded, Biola limited the damage and kept the game tied. 

In the sixth, the Eagles retook the lead via a sacrifice fly. This was followed by a clutch two-RBI double by junior outfielder and pitcher Jennifer Morinshi, which gave the Eagles a 5-2 lead. They added one more run of insurance in the seventh, which would prove incredibly important. 

In the bottom of the seventh, the Cougars scored three runs after a bases-loaded hit with only one out. With the tying run on third base and only one out, the Eagles were able to hold onto the lead and get the next two batters out. The final score was 6-5, with junior right-handed pitcher Paige Austin getting the victory. 

KEY MOMENTS THAT SHAPED THE GAME

With the many offensive woes over the previous three games, the Eagles could not afford to leave runners in scoring position on Sunday. After the Cougars started the scoring with a run in the third, the Eagles answered quickly. Junior middle infielder Kylie Velasco ripped a double down the left field line to drive in the tying run in the top of the fourth. This was the beginning of the Eagles’ much-needed offensive outburst. 

After tying the game in the top of the fourth, Austin came into the game in relief. She quickly found herself in some hot water with two runners on base and only one out. However, after the Eagles made a terrific play on defense to cut down a runner trying to score, she struck out the next batter and kept the momentum on Biola’s side.

The Eagles scored another run in the fifth inning to take the lead. In the bottom of the fifth, the Eagles found themselves in more hot water after the Cougars got the bases loaded with nobody out. Biola could not work out of the trouble unscathed this time. A base hit drove in a run to tie the game. Fortunately, Austin rebounded quickly by striking out the next batter. She then induced a ground out and a pop out to end the inning and keep the game tied. 

After the sacrifice fly to take the lead in the sixth, the Eagles did not look back. Morinshi stepped up and promptly roped a double to extend the lead. This offensive outburst is exactly what the team had been searching for over their previous three games. 

With the bases loaded and only one out, Biola found themselves in another jam. They came into the bottom of the seventh holding a seemingly safe 6-2 lead. This was quickly erased after the Cougars singled and drove home another run. However, on the play, the Eagles committed an error which allowed two more runs to score and the batter to advance to third. With a 6-5 lead and the tying run on third base, Austin had one final jam to escape from. She got the next two batters to groundout and ended up earning the victory. 

CLUTCH PERFORMANCES

Velasco and Morinishi carried the offense with two hits and two RBIs apiece. Though the Eagles offense had struggled as of late, the two players’ performances were vital to the Eagles’ offensive performance and eventual victory.

Austin earned the victory, which improved her pitching record to 2-1. However, nothing came easily for the Eagles’ right-handed pitcher. She was forced to work out of numerous jams and had to make many high-pressure pitches. Austin maintained her composure and only allowed two earned runs in the game.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The Eagles (3-2) will look to build off the momentum from the win as they will host the Academy of Art (1-4) in a four-game series. Game one is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.

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