Stepping up to the plate, shortstop Destiny Garcia SC ’24 eyed down the Redlands pitcher early in the first inning at Athena Field March 18.
With two gone in the frame, veteran infielder Lauren Richards CM ’22 stood in scoring position at second base, looking to break the stalemate and earn an early lead for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athenas. Garcia smoked a ball into short center field grass, earning an RBI single and putting CMS on top 1-0.
But the Athenas’ momentum didn’t last long: The Bulldogs countered with two consecutive 4-run innings. Headlined by a bases-clearing 3 RBI triple in the second inning and a 2 RBI double in the third, Redlands jumped out to an 8-1 lead.
CMS was unable to get their rhythm back, only managing to score two runs. The team eventually lost 8-3.
However, the defeat was countered with consecutive successes when CMS sought revenge in a doubleheader at Redlands the following day. The Athenas came out swinging and took care of business in their two games, pulling out tight wins in high-scoring contests: 9-6 and 10-7, respectively.
On the defensive end, pitcher Jade Johnson CM ’24 shut out Redlands hitters in two relief appearances on the mound during the doubleheader, earning a one-inning save in the first and a winning five-inning relief effort in the second match. Offensively, first baseman Abby Thompson CM ’25 shined brightest for the Athenas at the plate, going 5-for-7 with 4 RBIs.
The first match began on a rough first inning for CMS. Despite scoring one in the top frame with an RBI single by Thompson, Redlands instantly answered with a 4-run inning of their own, featuring a plate appearance from all nine Bulldog hitters.
Following this rocky start, two-way player Richards stabilized her pitching on the mound. For the next three top-half innings, the veteran locked down Bulldog hitters by inducing them to hit weak pop-up fly balls for outs, limiting them to one hit through this span.
This momentum on the defensive end fueled the Athena offense in the top of the fifth inning. With second baseman Emma Suh CM ’25 leading off with a walk, CMS batters strung together four consecutive singles to claw back into the game — scoring three runs in the process. After two RBI sacrifice flies later in the inning, the Athenas charged back to take a 6-4 lead.
But it proved to be short-lived. After a walk and a single to begin the bottom fifth, two Bulldog hitters earned two RBI singles against Richards to deadlock the score at 6-6.
With both teams engaged in an intense back-and-forth, CMS found an edge in the top of the seventh inning. After veteran infielder Kristin LeBlanc CM ’23 brought home Thompson on an error by the Redlands second baseman, Maren Summers CM ’23 crushed a pitch inside the zone over the right field wall, effectively ending the game 9-6 with a 2-run home run.
The momentum gained towards the end of the first match carried into the following game. The Athenas jumped out to an 8-0 lead after two top-half innings, highlighted by a 2-run home run from Richards, a 2 RBI single from shortstop Paige Zimmermann CM ’25 and an RBI double from designated player Emily Nutting CM ’24.
Although the Bulldogs attempted to stage a comeback, scoring seven runs within the second and third innings, the Athena lead proved too insurmountable to recover from. With catcher Ari Livi CM ’23 bringing in Thompson for a run with a defensive error on Redlands in the fourth and Thompson with a sacrifice fly RBI later in the seventh, the Athenas secured the 10-7 win.
With this 2-1 win series over Redlands, CMS is now tied for second in conference standings at a record of 4-2 in SCIAC play. They will next face Willamette at home in a doubleheader this afternoon, then play Occidental in a three-game season series this weekend.