ORANGE, Calif -- The Big Red softball team opened the 2017 campaign with a doubleheader split at Chapman University on Sunday. Denison won game one 5-3 before falling to the Panthers 7-1 in the nightcap.
In the opener, the Big Red broke the scoreless tie in a big way with a five-run fourth frame. Junior Lauren Secaras kicked off the frame with a base hit to right center before being pinch run for by Maddie Crull. After back-to-back free passes issued to Ryan Lee and Mckinly Vazquez loaded the bases with no outs, Panther pitcher Sarah Taketa was lifted from the game for Emily Claudy.
Crull and Lee both scored on a misplayed ball at second base. Freshman catcher Lindsey Clemson followed with a two-run base hit up the middle that plated Vazquez and Laura Bagan. DU pitcher Sarah Herold helped her own cause with a ground out to Claudy that allowed Clemson to score.
Chapman scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth to pull within two. Still down by a pair, Chapman was down to their final three outs of the game. Katie Nichols robbed Sarah Sumida of a hit to open the bottom of the seventh. After making the diving play to her left, Nichols threw out Sumida from her knees for the first out. After Amber Perez popped out to Secaras at first, Vanessa Gill hit a sharp ground ball to Nichols for the final out of the game.
Herold improves to 1-0 inside the circle after surrendering three runs (two earned) on six hits with five strikeouts and a pair of walks across seven innings of work. The junior also recorded a pair of hits at the plate while also drawing a walk and driving in a run. Secaras also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk, while Clemson drove in a pair and scored a run.
Taketa (1-2) suffered the game-one loss for the Panthers, giving up three runs on two hits with four walks in three frames. Analisa Ruff paced the Chapman offense with a double and two RBIs.
In game two, the Panthers registered the opening run in the bottom of the first on an errant throw during a double steal. Chapman broke the game open in the fourth with six runs by way of five hits and a Big Red miscue. Vazquez broke up the shutout bid when she scored on a single by Secaras in the sixth.
Senior Erin Laswell (0-1) took the loss after allowing seven runs (three earned) on nine hits with three strikeouts in four innings. Sophomore Colleen Hoffman tossed two hitless innings in relief of Laswell, fanning two and walking two. Herold, Vazquez, Ricki Asher and Secaras each recorded a hit for DU.
Samantha Wha (5-5) picked up the victory for Chapman, surrendering an unearned run with three Ks while scattering four hits in seven frames. Gill went 2-for-2 at the dish, while Samantha Ton knocked in a pair and Foi scored twice.
Denison (1-1) will be back in action on Monday when they travel to Claremont, Calif. to take on Pomona-Pitzer. Game one of the doubleheader is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. ET.