Claremont, Calif. - Senior first baseman Bri Marcantoni (Chino Hills, Calif.) tied the game with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth, and junior catcher Kathryn Rabak (Grass Valley, Calif.) added the winning RBI single three batters later as the Pomona-Pitzer Softball team completed a doubleheader sweep of Puget Sound 4-3 in extra innings in the nightcap of a doubleheader on Thursday afternoon.
(pictured: Marcantoni's home run swing in the eighth)
The Sagehens also won the opening game 9-4 (Marcantoni homered in that one as well) as they improve to 13-7 and stretch their winning streak to eight games, five of which have come in their final at-bat (four walk-off wins at home and an eight-inning win at Whittier). Puget Sound falls to 2-14 with the two losses.
The teams were locked in a pitcher's duel in the nightcap, with freshman Fiona Riley (Berkeley, Calif.) holding a 1-0 lead in the sixth, after Marcantoni's sacrifice fly drove in the game's only run to that point in the third.
However, the Loggers were able to tie the score in the top of the sixth, and only some good fortune and some timely defense prevented Puget Sound from taking the lead. With two on and one out, Marissa Jeffers hit the wall in straightaway center that nearly went over the fence for a three-run homer. Freshman center fielder Leah Bleichner (Simi Valley, Calif.) retrieved the ball and hit Marcantoni with a perfect relay, and Marcantoni was able to throw out the go-ahead run at the plate to keep the score tied 1-1.
The Loggers kept the offensive pressure on in the eighth, when the game went to the international tiebreaker rule with a runner placed on second at the start of each inning. With one out, Aryn Grause singled in the go-ahead run from third, and with the bases loaded, Jeffers added a sacrifice fly to right to make the score 3-1.
The Sagehens came back from deficits in their last at bat in wins over La Verne (10-9 in eight innings) and Staten Island (7-6) in their current eight-game win streak, and once again proved to be at their best with their backs against the wall. This time, the comeback took all of one pitch, as Marcantoni swung at the first offering from Puget Sound hurler Elayna Van Hess and homered to left-center field to tie the score up 3-3.
Pomona-Pitzer then made sure they wouldn't need another comeback, by stringing together three straight hits for the winning run. Sophomore designated player Caitlyn Hynes (Upland, Calif.) singled up the middle, and freshman third baseman Emily Glass (Davis, Calif.) ripped a double down the left field line that just eluded the dive of Puget Sound left fielder Megan Janes.
With second and third and nobody out, Rabak, who defeated Staten Island 7-6 with a walk-off three-run homer on Friday, earned another, if slightly less dramatic, walk-off hit this time. Rabak roped a line drive back into the circle that hit off Van Ness and rolled between shortstop and third to easily let Hynes race home with the winning run.
Rabak finished the nightcap 3-for-4, while senior shortstop Ari Roach (Pinole, Calif.) was 2-for-3, Bleichner was 2-for-4 and freshman left fielder Ashley Morello (Santa Cruz, Calif.) was 2-for-4. Riley allowed seven hits and one earned run over eight innings of work to get the win the circle, her fifth straight win, as she improved to 7-2 on the year.
In the opening game, the two teams were deadlocked 0-0 before Hynes, who was the starting pitcher, hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning to give the Sagehens the lead for good. Marcantoni added to the lead in the bottom of the fifth with a two-run homer, her first of two on the day, to stretch the lead to 5-0.
Puget Sound spoiled the Hynes shutout bid in the sixth as Grause hit a two-run homer, but Hynes retired the next three batters in order to prevent any further damage. The Sagehens then put the game away with four runs in the bottom half as Roach hit a two-run double, and Bleichner and Glass followed with consecutive RBI singles.
Hynes was relieved in the top of the seventh after a wild pitch scored a run, and sophomore Marilyn Cresswell (Wheaton, Ill.) finished up, yielding a harmless RBI single for a 9-4 final.
Glass was 4-for-4 in the first game with a run scored and an RBI, Morello was 3-for-4 with two runs scored, and Bleichner was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI, as the three freshmen combined for 10 of Pomona-Pitzer's 14 hits. Hynes struck out 10 and allowed just two hits in 6.1 innings, but did walk seven, which caused her to be saddled with four relatively harmless runs in the victory, improving to 5-3 on the year.
Pomona-Pitzer will be back in action on Saturday when it travels to CMS for a battle between two of the top three teams in the SCIAC standings.