Softball splits at Occidental to open season

PJ Ross '20 (Photo by
PJ Ross '20 (Photo by

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Brandeis University softball team split its 2020 season opener during a trip to the West Coast today as the Judges defeated Occidental College, 7-3, in the opener of a doubleheader, but fell, 5-4, in the bottom of the seventh in the second game. Brandeis is now 1-1 on the season, the Tigers are 1-3.

Every Brandeis starter had a hit in the opener. Senior 1B PJ Ross (Kingston, N.H./Sanborn Regional) led the way, going 2-4 with the game's big hit, a two-run double in the fifth inning that provided what proved to be the winning runs. She also singled in the third, a hit that allowed junior SS Jolie Fujita (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) to score on an error. Ross also scored a run in the fifth on a single by sophomore pitcher Sydney Goldman (Los Angeles, Calif./Notre Dame). Sophomore 3B Marley Felder (Miami, Fla./American Heritage School) was 2-3 with an RBI, a run scored and a stolen base, one of four for the Judges in the first game.

The seven runs and 13 hits were more than enough for Goldman, who gave up just five hits and three earned runs in seven innings. She fanned eight and walked five, hitting a batter. The complete game was Goldman's 17th of her career, as she improved to 15-2 in her career with the win.

Catcher and leadoff hitter Drew Sampson was the top hitter for Occidental in the opener, going 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Delaney Russell suffered the loss in the circle, allowing 13 hits and seven runs (five earned) in a complete-game effort. She struck out four and walked three with a hit batter.

In the nightcap, all of Brandeis's runs came on home runs. In the second inning, junior CF Melissa Rothenberg (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence) opened the second with the third round-tripper of her career. It was a two-run shot to open the scoring.

The Tigers bounced back thanks to Russell, playing first base in the second game. She delivered two-run singles in the third and fifth innings to put the hosts ahead, 4-2. The Judges got out of the fifth when sophomore pitcher Amidori Anderson (Sparks, Nev./Spanish Springs) worked out of a jam with runners on second and third with nobody out and two runs already in. Anderson struck out the batter after Russell, then, after hitting a batter, got a 1-2-3 double play to escape further damage.

In the top of the sixth, the Judges evened the contest when Felder led off with a single and Fujita followed with her first home run of the season and the sixth of her career. Anderson got through the bottom of the frame. In the seventh, after Brandeis stranded a runner in scoring position, Oxy delivered three-straight one-out singles to win the game on a hit by RF Cassie Carter.

Fujita finished the game with half of the Judges' hits, going 3-3 with a double, a homer, a stolen base, two runs scored and two RBI. Rothenberg's homer was the only other extra-base hit in the game. Anderson took the loss, going 6.1 innings, allowing nine hits and five earned runs. She struck out three and walked two, hitting three Tiger batters. It was the second complete game of her career, but also her first loss.

Russell was the big hitter for the home team, going 3-4 with four RBI. She also started the rally in the seventh inning, though was replaced by a pinch runner who scored the winning run. Aurora Funaro earned the win for Occidental, giving up six hits and four earned runs in seven innings. She walked three and struck out three.

Brandeis returns to action on Wednesday afternoon at Whittier College at 2:30 p.m. Eastern / 11:30 a.m. Pacific.