Contact: Mark Albanese, Director of Sports Communication
CLAREMONT, Calif. - The Pacific Lutheran University softball squad opened the regular season on Friday afternoon with a doubleheader split against host Pomona-Pitzer Colleges at Wig Beach Field. Marissa Miller tossed a complete game shutout as the Lutes mashed the Sagehens 9-0 in the opener before the hosts rallied to the 5-4 win in game two.
"We had another good day of softball today," said Head Coach Brandi Gordon Bennett. "We're doing a lot of little things well."
A late game offensive surge powered the Lutes (1-1) to the victory in the opener. The game was scoreless until the fourth inning when Samantha Simundson blasted a two-out double, plating a pair of runs. Kathryn Hatlen hit a solo home run the next inning before the Lutes grinded out two more runs in the sixth. PLU put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh with a four-run inning, including three runs coming off a Sydney Taggart double to center field.
Simundson matched Taggart with three RBIs in the game, also finishing two-for-four at the plate while Emily McConnell and Anna Overland both collected a pair of hits.
Miller tossed a gem inside the circle, striking out four and scattering six hits for the complete game shutout.
"It's nice to see Marissa find her stride again and work herself out of a few jams for the shutout. It was great to see our offense come out firing again in the first game and would have been great to do more of the same earlier in game two."
Pomona-Pitzer (1-1) drew first blood in game two, pushing across a score in the bottom of the sixth. PLU answered in the top of the seventh, scoring four runs. Jessica Wallace led off the frame with a double, scoring on a Becca Sorensen single before a Simundson base knock allowed two runs to cross. Simundson later scored on an Overland base hit, giving the Lutes the 4-1 edge heading into the final half inning.
The Sagehens narrowed the gap to just two courtesy of an RBI double before Liz Rodarte played the role of hero with a three-run home run for the walkoff victory.
"The good thing about game two is that we put ourselves in a position to win. Slow start and then a few players stepped up big to allow us to even play the bottom of the seventh. Hats off to Pomona, they stepped up in the seventh but it's always tough to lose like that."
Overland finished with two of PLU's seven hits in the game while Elli Rassbach absorbed the loss inside the circle, striking out three in 6 1/3 innings of work.
"We will look to take advantage of opportunities all seven innings at the plate by making adjustments sooner moving forward and our pitchers and defense will need to keep doing their job and keeping us in a position to win."
The Lutes conclude their tour of California on Sunday afternoon, facing La Sierra University at 12 p.m.