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Softball team splits season opener during trip to California

Over February break, the Brandeis softball team traveled to California to compete against Occidental College, Whittier College and the University of Redlands. The team kicked off their 2020 season in Los Angeles, splitting a double header against Occidental College. The Judges won their first game 7-3, but lost the second game 5-4. Brandeis then went on to sweep Whittier 7-3 and 18-3 on Wednesday in another double header. Finally, on Friday, the Judges fell to the Redlands in both games, losing 0-6 and 7-8.

In the opening game of their season, the Judges came out with fire, with every starter getting a hit. First baseman PJ Ross ’20 was the standout of the first game when she hit a two-run double in the fifth inning to give the Judges their winning runs. Ross went 2-4 in the game, with another big single in the third that allowed shortstop Jolie Fujita ’21 to score. Pitcher Sydney Goldman ’22 also had a single in the fifth to allow Ross to get a run. Third baseman Marley Felder ’22 also had a great game for the Judges, hitting 2-3 and scoring one run. She also had an RBI, and one of four of the Judges’ stolen bases. 

Goldman pitched a complete game for the Judges, her 15th career win, improving to 15-2. In the seven-inning game, Goldman gave up only five hits and three earned runs. Goldman also had eight strikeouts and five walks.

In the second game of their double header, the Occidental Tigers came out on top after two two-run singles in the third and fifth innings by Delaney Russel. But the Judges bounced back in the sixth inning when Felder got on first with a single and Fujita pounded home her first home run of the season and sixth of her career. Fujita was the standout of the game for the Judges, with a double, a home run, a stolen base, two RBI and two runs scored. Melissa Rothenberg ’21 also had her first home run of the season, giving the Judges their only other extra-base hit. 

Amidori Anderson ’21 pitched her second complete game of her career. She allowed nine hits and five earned runs in the game. She also had three strikeouts and walked two batters. This loss gave Anderson her first career loss. 

On Wednesday, Brandeis went on to sweep Whittier College in another double header. In the first game of the day, the Judges got off to a hot start in the second inning, putting up five runs, and eight of nine batters got on base. The bases were loaded and rookie Tara Striggow ’23 and Brianna Urena ’20 both got RBI Singles. This was followed by another single by rookie Lily Medici ’23 that scored another run for the Judges. Felder then drove in two more runs before the end of the inning. Brandeis then went through the next four innings scoreless, while the Poets were able to put three runs on the board. But the Judges were able to close out the game in the seventh inning, putting up two more runs off another hit by Felder, who had a career high four RBI. 

Goldman pitched another complete game and picked up her second win of the season. She allowed only three runs and seven hits. She also had four strikeouts and two walks. 

Brandeis then went on to face Whittier again, where they came out even stronger, putting two runs on the board in the first inning and a solo home run in the second inning from Rothenberg. In the second game against Whittier, the Judges boasted an even more impressive inning. The game was tied 3-3 when in the fourth inning the Judges had 14 batters and scored nine runs. Felder put up another two-run double and Striggow had a three-run home run, her first career home run. Striggow also scored the first run of the inning after getting on base from a single. At the end of the fourth, the Judges were up 12-3 on the Poets.

The Poets looked to make a comeback in the seventh inning, adding three runs to Brandeis’ one, but it was not enough to get past an impressive 13 runs by the Judges. Anderson was able to shut down the Poets’ hitting with four strong innings of relief, giving up just four hits, and no earned runs. Striggow and Felder each had multiple hits, and Rothenberg finished the game with four runs scored.

Finally, during their time in California, the Judges traveled to the University of Redlands, where they lost both games in their double header. Brandeis had an impressive opening match with a tight score of 7-8. The Judges secured the lead early after being down 4-5 in the first inning. Brandeis fought back in the second and third innings, adding three runs to counter Redlands’ zero. But Redlands responded in the fourth inning with three runs, to give them a one-run lead. 

Striggow gave the Judges a two-run single to start off the scoring in the first inning, followed by an RBI from rookie Sophia Micale ’23. The Redlands bounced back, producing five runs, but four were unearned after a Brandeis error. The Judges bounced back in the second with an RBI from Fujita, and a sacrifice fly from Urena. Bridget Cifuni ’21 also added a solo home run in the third inning, giving her the second home run of her career. After Redlands put three runs on the board in the fifth inning, the Judges were held scoreless the rest of the game and unable to secure the win. This game was Goldman’s third loss in her career and first of the season. 

In the second game, the Judges couldn’t get the offensive advantage they had in their previous double headers. The offense only had four hits, and no runs scored thanks to Redlands pitcher Madeleine Gonzalez. The Judges got off to a slow start, with Rothenberg being the only player to make it past first in the first five innings with a double. In the fifth inning the Judges looked to pick things up with bases loaded, but couldn’t score a run against Gonzalez. The Redlands scored their six runs in the first four innings, Anderson suffering the loss on the mound. 

The Judges now have three weeks off, in preparation for their home opener back in Waltham against Clark University at noon on Saturday, March 14.

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