With great excitement, the CMS Athenas began Game 1 against regional rival Chapman University with all five freshmen in the starting line-up. After the five freshmen, two sophomores and three juniors quickly recorded two outs in the top of the first, Chapman rallied to put up four runs before Rebecca Gularte struck out the eighth batter of the inning.
While many young squads might have folded, the talented first year players, many making their collegiate debuts, came back strong notching two runs in the bottom of the first while stranding two more.
Freshman Michaela Ecklund put the Athenas ahead in the bottom of the second with a bases clearing 3 RBI double and contributed 2 runs herself on the day. From there, the contest went back and forth before deadlocking at 6 apiece going into the top of the fourth.
In an offensive show of force, the Athenas outscored the Panthers 9 to 1 over the next three innings, for a final score of 15-7. The trio of Megan Morris, Harmony Palmer and Amanda Banducci each went 3 for 4 at the plate combining for 8 runs scored and 4 runs batted in. Banducci got the walk-off single to end the game by run rule after six innings.
Freshman Rebecca Ciszewski had a fantastic debut going 1 for 3 with 2 runs scored and 3 RBIs on the day. Her bases loaded double into the outfield fence, which was only a few feet short of a grand slam had spectators holding their breath. Were it not for a strong incoming breeze, the first year Athena might have notched a dream come true moment in her first collegiate start.
In the second half of the twin bill, junior pitcher Emma Friedenberg threw a superb game holding Chapman to 3 up – 3 down in 5 of 7 innings pitched. With stellar control and efficiency, she scattered 3 hits and struck out two in 25 batters faced. Friedenberg is 2-0 on the season thus far, gutting out both victories by a margin of one.
The Athenas did not muster the same offensive fireworks in game 2 scoring just one run in the bottom of the first. However, it proved to be enough as they backed it up with flawless defense to win the contest 1-0.
For the second week in a row, senior Michelle Harvey scored the lone and winning run for the squad on a sacrifice fly by Gizelle Pera in the bottom of the first inning.