ORANGE, Calif. – The Chapman University softball team fell 6-5 and 5-2 in a doubleheader against visiting Whittier on Saturday. Senior Kristen Weiser had three hits and three RBIs to lead the Panthers at the plate.
Game 1 – L, 6-5
The lead changed hands a couple of times but the Whittier Poets scored a couple of late runs to capture the 6-5 win. Weiser and fellow senior Sarah Taketa each brought in a pair of RBIs in the back-an-forth affair.
Weiser's two-run double in the fifth breathed some life into the Chapman offense as the Panthers trailed 4-1 after Whittier scored two in the top half. After a walk to sophomore Michaela Foisy and an error to start the inning, Weiser crushed a double to left to score two and make it 4-3.
A walk and a groundout set the table for Taketa. She smacked the go-ahead single into right as both runners came around to score for a 5-4 Chapman lead.
However, Whittier was able to manufacture a run in the top half of the sixth to tie the game as Mari Ahern's fly ball to center scored a run before it turned into a double play with the runner at first trying to sneak to second.
After Foisy was stranded on second in the bottom half, the Poets were able to squeeze in the go-ahead run in the seventh. Chapman wasn't quite done as Weiser once again gave the Panthers life with a leadoff single in the bottom half. Sophomore Samantha Tong came in to pinch run and was sacrificed over to second. With two outs, Taketa bounced a single up the middle. Tong rounded third in an attempt to tie the game but a perfect throw from center field beat Tong to the plate and ended the game.
Sophomore Kyra Gallego singled in the Panthers' initial run in the first. The Panthers drew seven walks in addition to their six hits. Kaitlyn Garza led the Poets with three RBIs and Sam Casanas went the distance to pick up her fifth win in the circle.
Game 2 – L, 5-2
Chapman stranded 10 runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded in the second and the sixth as Whittier completed the sweep. Ahern homered in the top half of the first to give the Poets the initial lead that they never relinquished.
Whittier put up another run in the third and two in the fifth to go up 4-0. Weiser was at it again with an RBI-ginle in the fifth to put Chapman on the board.
Junior Hope Ballard led off the sixth with a double and moved to third on junior Elizabeth Runge's double. A walk loaded the bases with no outs and the Panthers trailing 5-1. Whittier's Amanda Melodia weathered the threat as sophomore Vanessa Gilles' liner to the right side was plucked out of the air before it could reach the outfield grass. Melodia recorded the strikeout for the second out but Foisy finally cashed in a run with a single into right field, putting the tying run on base. A pop up ended the inning with the bases still loaded.
Taketa had a perfect relief effort as she retired the only five batters she faced after entering in the sixth. Melodia picked up her eighth win.
The two losses put a dent in the Panthers' postseason hopes as they now trail Whittier by five games with just eight games remaining on the schedule.
Chapman looks to break its five-game slide on Friday when it hosts Cal Lutheran at 2 p.m.
By Steven Olveda
Sports Information Director