CLAREMONT, CA — The Sagehens never trailed in game one, and the Pomona-Pitzer Softball team rallied late in game two to score a pair of wins at home against the Occidental Tigers on Senior Day.
Season Impact: The Sagehens improve to 12-26 overall and 8-18 in SCIAC play. The Tigers drop to 12-24 and 10-16 in the conference.
Game One: Pomona-Pitzer 2, Occidental 1
Liz Rodarte led the Sagehens offensively and defensively and Pomona-Pitzer scored a win over the Tigers in game one of the doubleheader.
Rodarte did it all. The sophomore stud got the start in the circle for Pomona-Pitzer and proceeded to retire the first twelve Occidental batters. She did not allow a hit until the fifth inning.
At the plate, Rodarte blasted a two-run home run over the right center fence in the bottom of the fourth to give the Sagehens the opening lead that they would never relinquish. Marya Ornelas got on base with a single to shortstop and then Izzy Deatherage laid down a sacrifice bunt to move her over, setting up Rodarte's two-run shot.
Rodarte finished the game 2-2 at the plate and struck out seven batters while giving up just four hits. Rodarte's strikeout total moves to 107 on the season.
The Tigers made it close late. With the bases loaded, Natalie Glover hit a single to center to score pinch runner Olivia Thayer. But center fielder Ornelas fired the ball in to stop the runners from advancing more. Rodarte then shut the Tigers down, striking out Nyla Gatison to end the game.
Kristen Hong added a hit for the Sagehens. The sophomore ranks second on the squad with 37 hits this season.
Game Two: Pomona-Pitzer 4, Occidental 3
The Sagehens plated two innings in the fifth to score a come from behind win in game two.
In the fifth with Pomona-Pitzer trailing by one, Sofia Baig started a rally when she hit a shot to center field that rolled past the outfielders to the fence. The senior barreled around second and raced to third for a stand-up triple. Marya Ornelas then hit a chopper to right field to bring Baig home for the RBI single and tie the game, 3-3.
The Sagehens loaded the bases after a single by Izzy Deatherage and a walk by Liz Rodarte. Freshman pitcher Alondra Reynoso stepped into the box next and sent a fly ball to deep center field. Oxy's outfielder got under the ball but Ornelas scored form third and Deatherage and Rodarte each moved over a base for the sacrifice fly to give Pomona-Pitzer the lead for good, 4-3.
Reynoso pitched three innings of relief, picking up the win for the Sagehens. Senior Bianca Cockrell got the start in the circle, going four innings in her outing.
The momentum from the Sagehens' game one win rolled into the start of game two. Pomona-Pitzer rattled off three hits in the first inning, starting with a lead-off single to center by Kristen Hong. Ornelas moved Hong over a base with a sacrifice bunt, and Deatherage brought her home with a single to center field.
Designated player Haylee Sindt added a single of her own, but Deatherage was thrown out at third to end the inning.
The Tigers took the lead the next inning off a double by Natalie Glover that scored two. Occidental extended their lead the next inning when Cayman Hunter singled with the bases loaded to score Alexis Funaki for a 3-1 advantage.
Rodarte added a double in the bottom of the fourth. The first baseman blasted a shot to right center to reach second standing up. Pinch hitter Rachel Fong then advanced to third on a ground out by Sindt.
Natalie Ireland stepped up next and reached on an error by Occidental's shortstop, scoring Fong to cut the deficit to one, setting up the comeback in the fifth.
From the Coach: "I'm so proud of our seniors' effort and everything they've given to the program," said Head Coach JoAnne Ferguson. "It's great for Sofia to get that big hit in that crucial situation, and Bianca got hits and did a great job pitching for us. It means the world to the program that they were able to come out and perform for us."
"It was a great team effort all around. It feels great and it helps us get some momentum for next year. Our goal is to finish strong this weekend and do the best we can with our last two games tomorrow."
Next Game: The Sagehens will complete their season tomorrow on the road against the Cal Lutheran Regals in a doubleheader beginning at noon.