ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University softball team was down 9-2 after three innings but scored 14 unanswered runs over the next two games to sweep visiting Occidental in A Sunday doubleheader. Junior Samantha Whalen threw a four-hit shutout to complete the sweep and senior Sarah Taketa had six hits on the day.
Game 1 – W, 10-9
The Panthers (4-4, 3-3 SCIAC) trailed 9-2 in the third and were still down 9-6 in the seventh but found a way to fight back and take the win. The walkoff specialists won in their final at bat of the game for the second game in a row.
Occidental was able to get the bats going early, plating three runs in the first, four more in the second and another pair in the third. Madison Romero and Bailey Stevens each had three RBIs early on for Oxy with a pair of run-scoring hits. Romero smashed a two-run triple in the second inning and Steven followed later with a two-run double.
Chapman managed to take advantage of a couple first inning errors to score a pair of runs but was on the way to being run-ruled in the third. Senior Kristen Weiser knocked in a run with a single in the fourth. Sophomore Sarah Sumida singled in another in the fifth.
The Panthers continued chipping away in the sixth as Taketa singled in a run with one of her four hits in the game. She scored easily on sophomore Christine LoVerde's triple to right. Down 9-6, the Panther rallied in the seventh.
Sophomore Sarah Hartmann entered the circle in the third inning for Taketa. Oxy immediately plated a pair of runs on four hits in the inning. Then, Hartmann settled in. Two more hits put her trouble in the fourth but she came out unscathed. While the Panthers bats started to do their damage, Hartmann completely shut down Oxy's lineup. She retired the last nine batters in order to set up the Panthers' huge comeback.
Sophomore Michaela Foisy sparked the rally with an infield single and a swipe of second. She scored on Sumida's single. With one out, Taketa's fourth hit of the day scored Samantha Tong. Junior Elizabeth Runge tied the game with a seeing-eye single through the right side that brought in senior Sydney Engelhardt just ahead of the throw.
After LoVerde drew a walk to load the bases, a shallow pop up to the outfield kept all the runners put. With two outs, sophomore Nina Nooteboom hit another pop up to shallow left. As the ball floated back to the Earth, it popped in and out of the charging left fielders glove and the winning run came charging home to complete an epic comeback.
Taketa was 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs. Sumida and Runge each had three hits with two RBIs.
Game 2 – W, 7-0
Back-to-back walkoff wins gave Chapman all the momentum it needed in game two of the doubleheader and Whalen delivered a complete game performance to back to rolling offense.
Whalen retired the first nine batters in order and took a no-hitter into the fifth as she cruised through the Oxy lineup. Cora Roberts broke up the no-no when she led off the fifth with a clean single to left field. No one reached scoring position until the sixth when the Tigers hit back-to-back singles but never reached third. She hit a batter in the seventh but ended the game with a line drive double play to third.
Whalen had one strikeout and one walk after not issuing a walk in eighth innings against CMS on Saturday.
On the other end of the inning, Runge and Tong laid down back-to-back squeeze bunts to give Chapman a 2-0 lead in the second. LoVerde drew a bases loaded walk in the fifth to make it 3-0. Sophomore Vanessa Gilles moved all the way around the bases for a "little league grand slam" when her single went right through the center fielder's legs and all the way to the wall. The bases were loaded when she approached the plate and everyone scored as the ball rolled deeper into the grass of centerfield.
The offense was more than enough for Whalen, who picked up her first complete game shutout and second win of the year. It was her third career shutout but her first seven-inning shutout.
Foisy stole a base in the second game, giving her three for the day and seven for the year. She also has a hit in all eight games this season.
The Panthers hit the road next week to visit Whittier on Saturday for a noon doubleheader.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director