The UCR women’s softball team (23-19, 5-6) dropped both games in a doubleheader with Cal State Bakersfield on Wednesday, April 19, but was able to rebound by winning both games of a doubleheader with UC Davis.
The first game of the week saw the Highlanders lose in the first of the doubleheader games with Bakersfield, 5-2. Both teams were able to keep each other at bay, but Rebecca Faulkner — who played left field and appeared in 2.2 innings of relief for the Highlanders — drove in the game’s first two runs on a single to center field on a full count. That would be the only offense the Highlanders would be able to produce. The Highlanders would let the Roadrunners back into the game and Bakersfield promptly answered the call, forcing Faulkner to the mound to relieve starter Haley Marschall after she walked three of four batters to start the fifth, loading the bases with one out. The change was not quite enough to mitigate the damage, as an error was committed on the first ball she allowed into play, scoring two runs for Bakersfield. Bakersfield outfielder Kaylynn Butt knocked in two more runs on the next at-bat, and Bakersfield would threaten with runners on second and third before the Highlanders could escape the inning trailing, 4-2. Bakersfield added an insurance run in the seventh off of another Highlander error, a fatal flaw that sealed their fate in this game.
The second game was a gritty pitchers duel not reflective of the 3-2 score, with neither starter allowed a run through the first eight innings of play. While Highlander starter Jacy Boles being replaced by Faulkner after 118 pitches and 8.1 shutout innings, Roadrunner starter Summer Evans went the distance and then some, throwing 124 pitches in 10 innings while allowing six hits and two runs (one earned). Evans only managed one strikeout but didn’t walk a single Highlander. After eight innings of shutout ball, Bakersfield was the one to strike first this game. Roadrunner center fielder Julia Cavazos led off the ninth with a ground rule double, then advanced to third on the next at-bat despite that batter grounding out to second. The next batter was able to finish the job and drive Cavazos in to score the first run of the game. The Roadrunners were able to score once more, leaving the Highlanders down 2-0 with a half inning to match those runs. The Highlanders did not disappoint, as Faulkner hit a two-run home run down the left field line to drive in third baseman Jenae Lockwood, who opened the bottom part of the ninth with a ground rule double. It was not to be for the Highlanders however, as Cavazos drove in the game winning run in the top of the 10th to which Highlanders could not respond.
The first game of the doubleheader with UC Davis ended in a 9-8 Highlander victory. At first, the situation looked bleak for the Highlanders, with Davis driving in four runs in the second inning to jump out of the gate. The Highlanders were only able to manage one run to respond in the second inning, and Davis was able to tack on three more runs to make the score 7-1. Facing a huge deficit, the Highlanders began to crank out the runs. Unlike the second inning, the Highlanders responded to Davis’ third in full with four runs to close the gap to 7-5, before tying it with two more in the fourth. Coming in following the third inning, Highlander pitcher Taylor Misfeldt was finally able to stymie the Davis offense, only allowing one unearned run over the final four innings of play. That unearned run was tacked on in the seventh, giving Davis a late 8-7 lead. Once again the Highlanders responded, putting two more runs on the board to wrap up the game. Highlander right fielder Danielle Ortega finished with three hits and two runs batted in (RBI’s) in the game, and Faulkner also picked up two RBI’s.
The second game was not the offensive spectacle the previous game was, but it still ended happy for the Highlanders in a 5-0 victory. Misfeldt was once again spectacular for the Highlanders, spinning seven scoreless frames. The Highlander offense still had gas from the previous game’s offensive explosion. While Davis was able to keep UCR’s offense at bay for the first three innings, the Highlanders broke free in the fourth with a quick volley that put up three runs. The Highlanders would add two more in the sixth to reach the final margin. Highlander third baseman Anessa Cepeda drove in two runs, and center fielder Jenna Curtan and first baseman Sarah Patten had two hits and an RBI a piece.
The Highlanders visit Northridge for a three-game series from Saturday, April 29 to Sunday, April 30 against Cal State Northridge.