REDLANDS, Calif. – The Brandeis University softball team dropped its final two games of their February break trip to California today at the University of Redlands, falling 8-7 in the opener and 6-0 in the nightcap. The Judges fall to 3-3 on the campaign, while the Bulldogs improve to 7-2.
In the opener, the Judges looked to build a big lead in the top of the first, scoring four times. The big hits were a two-run single by rookie catcher Tara Striggow (Cape Coral, Fla./Cape Coral) and an RBI hit by DP Sophia Micale (Winchester, Mass./Winchester). Brandeis couldn't hold on to the lead, however, as UR scored five times in the bottom of the frame. A costly error made the final four runs unearned.
Brandeis reclaimed the lead in the second, thanks to an RBI single by junior shortstop Jolie Fujita (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) and a sacrifice fly from senior 2B Brianna Urena (Somerset, Mass./Somerset-Berkeley Regional) that made it 6-5. Junior left fielder Bridget Cifuni (Georgetown, Mass. / Brooks School) added a solo home run in the third, the second of her career, to give the Judges a 7-5.
Redlands responded in the bottom of the fourth, as the Bulldogs took sophomore Sydney Goldman (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) deep twice. Desiree Moran went deep with a solo shot to cut the home team's deficit to one run. After Goldman issued a walk, Megan Watkins delivered a two-run shot that proved to be the game-winning runs.
UR pitcher Madeleine Gonzalez kept the Judges in check the rest of the way, allowing just two base runners on an error and a walk. Goldman danced around some trouble in the fifth and sixth innings to keep it a one-run game, but the Judges weren't able to take advantage.
Fujita, Micale and rookie RF Lily Medici (New City, N.Y./Clarkstown North) each had two hits for Brandeis, while Striggow was the only player with multiple RBI. Junior center fielder Melissa Rothenberg (Lawrenceville, N.J./Lawrence) had a double, the only extra-base hit besides Cifuni's homer. Goldman suffered the loss, dropping to 2-1 on the season. It was just the third defeat of her collegiate career.
In the second game, Redlands' Gonzalez continued to stymie the Brandeis offense, allowing just four hits in the 6-0 shutout. She struck out four and walked three. Rothenberg doubled with one out in the second inning, but she was the only Judge to make it past first until the fifth inning. In the fifth, Brandeis loaded the bases with nobody out, thanks to a walk, a hit batter and a single by sophomore Alyssa Renskers (Duarte, Calif./Duarte). Gonzalez wriggled out of trouble with two pops to first base and a comebacker into the circle.
Redlands scored all they would need on a hit and two errors in the bottom of the second. Moran added a two-run double in the third, and wildness led to three runs on just one hit and one error in the fourth. Sophomore Amidori Anderson (Sparks, Nev./Spanish River) suffered the loss, falling to 1-2 on the season after allowing six runs (four earned) in 3.1 innings of work.
Brandeis returns to Waltham and will be off for three weeks until their home opener, March 14th, against Clark University, at noon.