Leopards lose nail-biter to Sagehens

Graduate student first baseman Marissa Acosta records the put out in the Leopards’ second game of their doubleheader against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens on Tuesday night at Campus West. The Leopards split the doubleheader, winning the first game, 4-2, and lost the second game, 2-1. / photo by Jack Janes
Graduate student first baseman Marissa Acosta records the put out in the Leopards’ second game of their doubleheader against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens on Tuesday night at Campus West. The Leopards split the doubleheader, winning the first game, 4-2, and lost the second game, 2-1. / photo by Jack Janes

Jonas Holt
Staff Writer

The Leopards faced a tough battle against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens in game two of their doubleheader, losing 2-1 on Tuesday night at Campus West. 

Despite a strong showing in the first game, where the Leopards secured a 4-2 victory, they could not replicate their success in the second game. 

“Overall today I felt that we were dialed in and focused,” head coach Tara Anaya said. “Our pitching on the mound today kept us in it for sure.”

Junior pitcher Kirstin Sanchez started for the Leopards in game two after leading the Leopards to a 4-2 win in the first game. 

Freshman pitcher Jada Coria delivers a pitch in the second game of the Leopards’ doubleheader against Pomona-Pitzer on Tuesday night at Campus West. Coria pitched four scoreless innings in the Leopards’ 2-1 loss. / photo by Jack Janes
Freshman pitcher Jada Coria delivers a pitch in the second game of the Leopards’ doubleheader against Pomona-Pitzer on Tuesday night at Campus West. Coria pitched four scoreless innings in the Leopards’ 2-1 loss. / photo by Jack Janes

The Sagehens struck first in the first inning, capitalizing on a leadoff double from junior center fielder Devin Waddell, followed by an infield bunt from freshman right fielder Summer Gibson, which resulted in the Saghens taking a 1-0 lead on a bad throw from La Verne junior catcher Alyssa Campbell. Despite the error, Sanchez retired the next two batters.

The Leopards struggled to get their footing in the bottom of the first inning against Sagehens senior pitcher Erika Rivera, going down in order with junior right fielder Angelina Alderete and graduate student third baseman Taylor Gray both striking out.

As the game went into the second and third innings, both sides showed defensive resilience, with Sanchez for the Leopards and Rivera for the Sagehens holding hitters at bay, resulting in consecutive scoreless innings.

In the top of the fourth, Sanchez walked the first two batters, which prompted Anaya to make a change and bring in freshman pitcher Jada Coria in relief. 

Junior shortstop Erika Garcia made a nice play to throw out Sagehens’ sophomore catcher Kylie Liu at the plate to prevent another run.

“I thought it was a well played game and we came out with a lot of energy and intensity,” Garcia said. “There’s nothing we can really be mad about.”

Junior shortstop Erika Garcia makes a play deep in the five-six hole and guns down the runner at home plate in the second game of the Leopards’ doubleheader against Pomona-Pitzer on Tuesday night at Campus West. Despite the great play, the Leopards lost the second game, 2-1. / photo by Jack Janes
Junior shortstop Erika Garcia makes a play deep in the five-six hole and guns down the runner at home plate in the second game of the Leopards’ doubleheader against Pomona-Pitzer on Tuesday night at Campus West. Despite the great play, the Leopards lost the second game, 2-1. / photo by Jack Janes

Coria walked the next two batters and the Sagehens got their second run across, giving them a 2-0 lead. Coria and the Leopards got out of the jam as Waddell grounded out to sophomore second baseman Cassandra Zapata.

Gray got things going for the Leopards in the bottom of the fourth inning as she delivered a hit into left field. Zapata laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Gray into scoring position.

“We have to do our jobs when needed,” Gray said. “It’s just about doing the little things right.”

The Leopards attempted to capitalize on the opportunity, but their momentum was cut short when Ashley Rodriguez’s deep fly ball to center field was snagged for the second out. Gray, attempting to tag up from second base, dashed for third but was called out for leaving early, ending the inning and stifling the Leopards’ scoring chance.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Leopards found themselves in a promising position to mount a comeback. A walk to junior outfielder Sydney Diaz followed by another walk to Garcia put runners on base, setting the stage for a potential rally. 

The pressure mounted as freshman outfielder Julia Miramontes drew another walk, loading the bases for the Leopards with just one out. 

Junior right fielder Angelina Alderete rose to the occasion for the Leopards, delivering a clutch single up the middle that scored Diaz, narrowing the deficit to 2-1. However, Garcia’s attempt to advance to third on the play resulted in an out, dampening the Leopards’ momentum.

Junior outfielder Ashley Rodriguez hits a ground ball and reaches base safely on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning of the Leopards’ second game of their doubleheader against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens Tuesday night at Campus West. The Leopards split the doubleheader against the Sagehens, winning game one by a score of 4-2 and losing the second game, 2-1. / photo by Jack Janes
Junior outfielder Ashley Rodriguez hits a ground ball and reaches base safely on a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning of the Leopards’ second game of their doubleheader against the Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens Tuesday night at Campus West. The Leopards split the doubleheader against the Sagehens, winning game one by a score of 4-2 and losing the second game, 2-1. / photo by Jack Janes

The Leopards’ scoring opportunity was further denied when Acosta lined out to short, ending the inning with the bases loaded.

“Our team really connected today,” Diaz said. “We just didn’t clutch up when we needed to.”

In the bottom of the sixth, Gray walked, prompting a pitching change for the Sagehens. Freshman pitcher Nyla Springer took the mound. Campbell followed with a walk, putting runners on first and second. Diaz’s infield hit loaded the bases, but Garcia’s groundout ended the inning.

Springer dominated the rest of the game and led the Sagehens to a 2-1 victory over the Leopards. 

The loss puts the Leopards’ overall record at 11-20, with a SCIAC conference record of 5-10. They now turn their focus to a three-game series against the Chapman Panthers, which begins at 3 p.m. Friday at Campus West and a doubleheader at noon and 2 p.m. at Chapman. 

“We’ve got to be able to really dial in and execute when it matters most and fix those small things,” Anaya said.

Jonas Holt can be reached at jonas.holt@laverne.edu.

Jonas Holt is a senior journalism major with a concentration in print and online journalism. He is a staff writer and staff photographer for the Campus Times and La Verne Magazine.

Jack Janes, a senior journalism major, is sports editor of the Campus Times and a staff writer for La Verne Magazine. He is also a staff photographer for both publications. He previously served as a Campus Times staff writer.

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