The University of Redlands softball team made the trip to East Texas Baptist University for the First Round of the NCAA Championships and suffered an early exit from the tournament by losing both games on the opening day.
The No. 18 Bulldogs kicked of the double-elimination tournament in Marshall, TX, with a tough 1-2 loss to No. 4 University of Texas-Tyler.
The Patriots initiated the scoring in the first inning with back-to-back doubles.
Redlands responded in the second inning as senior left fielder Roxy Lambert (La Jolla, CA) drove a ball to left field, scoring junior designated player Amanda Doeppel (Monrovia, CA) to tie the game at one.
The game remained knotted until the top of the fifth inning when UT Tyler walked in what would become the winning run.
With the loss, the Bulldogs faced top-ranked Linfield College (OR) in the final game of the day.
The Wildcats jumped out to a three-run lead in the bottom of the first inning.
After 2 innings without a hit, Linfield capitalized on an error and two hits in the fourth to score two more runs.
Down by five, Redlands battled back with four runs in the top of the fifth inning. Doeppel doubled to right center and then freshman right fielder Breanna Ruelas (Brawley, CA) walked. With two outs, freshman shortstop Kai Masutani (Honolulu, HI) singled to right field to load the bases. Junior catcher Nicky Neumann (Fremont, CA) stepped up to the plate and knocked in two runs with a double to left center. Junior center fielder Kayla Peterson (San Jose, CA) followed suit with a two-RBI single up the middle to move the Bulldogs within one.
However, Linfield steadily scored runs in each of the remaining innings while Redlands mustered only one, resulting in a 5-8 loss for the Maroon and Gray.
Neumann accounted for three of the team’s seven hits, while Peterson provided three RBI.
Redlands finished out the 2009 campaign with a 30-12 record, boasting at least 30 wins for the fifth year in a row.