THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Cal Lutheran softball team outplayed Linfield for most of game two and was one strike away from upsetting the No. 8 Wildcats but fell victim to back-to-back RBI base hits in the top of the seventh and then surrendered a run in the top of the eighth, falling 5-4. Linfield also captured game one, defeating CLU 12-2 in six innings.
Linfield grabbed the lead early in game one after a three-run homerun from Hayli Watson made it 5-0 in the top of the first inning.
The Wildcats pushed across runs in the second and third inning before CLU broke through with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs, Katelyn Downing doubled into left center and was then moved to third base after a Ryanna Morua single. Kelly Lockwood followed with a two-run double off the right field wall, cutting the Linfield lead to eight.
Unfortunately for Cal Lutheran, the Wildcats responded with three runs in the top of the sixth to earn the game one victory.
Downing (2-8) took the loss for the Regals while Karina Paavola improved to 8-1 on the year. Brittany Labbe, Blake Lewis and Kayla Sakamoto had the other hits for CLU.
Starting pitcher Shonna Christianson was the story in game two as she held the Linfield offense to just one run on three hits through six innings.
Backed by Christianson’s strong outing, Cal Lutheran tied the game in the bottom of the first when Stephanie Banyi scored on a wild-pitch.
The Regals took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning after Downing led off with a bunt single. She was sacrificed over by Christianson and then brought home on a two-out pinch-hit single from Danika Green. Lockwood increased the CLU lead on the very next pitch to 3-1 after notching a double into the right-center field gap. The hot-hitting shortstop later come home on an error by the Linfield first basemen, making the score 4-1.
The lead would hold until the top of the seventh when Linfield got a two-run triple from Karleigh Prestianni and an RBI double from Lisa Yamamoto on back-to-back at bats, tying the game at four.
The Regals had a chance in the bottom of the seventh when Sakamoto lead off the inning by reaching on an error but CLU was unable to bring her home, forcing the game into extra innings.
Watson came through for Linfield in the top of the eighth when she plated Rachelle Ridout for the go-ahead run.
Paavola came on in the eighth and got the Regals to retire in order as Linfield completed the game two comeback.
Christianson, Downing, Green and Labbe all had singles while Lockwood and Shannon Tinsley each recorded a double.
Cal Lutheran (4-16) will be back in action Saturday, March 23, when it hosts Whittier for a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) doubleheader. First pitch at Hutton Field is set for noon.