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Evading elimination; Athenas win two and advance to NCAA Regional final

[Watch Saturday's Press Conference Here]

SPOKANE, Wash. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps softball team stayed alive through two elimination games on Saturday in the NCAA tournament beating Whitworth 3-0 and then George Fox 3-1 in a rematch of yesterday's game. Sophomore Anna Gurr (CMC) earned both wins as the team recorded its 19th shutout of the season.

The Athenas faced the host school, Whitworth, in the first game of the day. On Friday, the Pirates were shutout by Linfield 6-0 in the first game of the tournament. Against CMS, the Northwest Conference (NWC) regular season champions only managed four hits against Gurr and the defensively sound Athenas.

In the game, Gurr struck out five batters and picked up her 21st win on the season.

Each team got a runner into scoring position in the first inning but there were only zeroes on the board until the Athenas' half of the second. Three singles in a row by freshman Reeve Grobecker (CMC), Abigail Metsch (SCR), senior Shannon O'Neill (CMC) loaded up the bases for CMS. With two outs and the bases still loaded, senior Tara Robinson (CMC) dropped a hit into left field to score O'Neill and senior pinch runner Janelle Shiozaki (CMC) to give the Athenas the 2-0 lead.

One inning later, CMS struck again as sophomore Carly Roleder (CMC) led off with a walk. The old adage came true as Roleder touched home due a double by senior Carlene Roberts (CMC).

Whitworth threatened in the top of the fifth with two singles and a stolen base. Gurr forced a pop out to third base to end the inning, stranding runners on second and third.

Going into the seventh inning, CMS still held the three run lead. The Pirates' third baseman, who already had two hits on the day, led off the inning for Whitworth. She reached on an Athena error which was followed up with a hit batter, putting two runners on with no outs. Gurr struck out one hitter and then Whitworth's No. 9 batter grounded into a double play that required some discussion by the umpires, but ultimately held up and ended the game.

The Athenas amassed eight hits from seven different players and did not strike out once as a team.

Box Score vs. Whitworth

With the win, CMS advanced to a rematch of the first game of the regional. In the morning game on Saturday, George Fox and Linfield squared off in the winner/winner mathup. Linfield came away with the tight 5-4 victory and sent the Bruins to the bottom half of the shrinking bracket.

The CMS coaching staff allowed Gurr a break and went with another all-conference pitcher in senior Molly Rubidoux (CMC). Rubidoux's last appearance was back on April 16 when she blanked Pomona-Pitzer for 4.1 innings.

George Fox went back to Madison Sorensen who had done well against the Athena hitters the day before.

As the visitors, CMS quickly put two on the board in the top of the first inning. Roleder earned the first RBI and then sophomore designated player Briana Halle (CMC) drove in senior Katie Savard (CMC).

It took a full inning for the Bruins to answer but their senior catcher Courtney Howard came through in a big way again. She got on with a triple down the right field line and then scored on a sacrifice fly to bring George Fox within one run of the Athenas at 2-1.

CMS came right back and loaded up the bases in the bottom of the inning only to strand all three runners.

Gurr relieved Rubidoux after two innings of work and retired six of the next seven batters.

The Athenas snagged their third run of the game on a home run by Savard in the fifth inning. After two quick outs, Savard recorded her third hit of the day as the ball bounced off the top of the high fence in right center.

The Bruins rallied in the bottom of the frame once more but stranded three runners, just as CMS had two innings prior. George Fox's final attempt at a comeback was in the bottom of the seventh. A pinch hitter hit a ball that was surely going to bounce foul into the CMS dugout, but rather, it allowed for some more heroics for the first baseman, Savard. She reached over the short fence, into the dugout and took away one of George Fox's precious opportunities and converted it into an out.

Then, the top of the order, Kimi Ito, stepped to the plate. Ito earned a walk and then advanced to third on a subsequent double. Ultimately, the Bruins' No. 3 batter watched her third strike as Roberts perfectly stuck Gurr's 62nd pitch of the night for the final out.

Savard was 3-for-4 in the game including the home run. Huynh drew two walks and also hit her way on once.

Box Score vs. George Fox

CMS lived to play another day at the NCAA Spokane Regional. After having eliminated both Whitworth and George Fox from the tournament, the Athenas will face Linfield for the first time this weekend. Game time is slated for 12 p.m. PDT. The last time the Athenas played Linfield in the NCAA tournament was back in 2014, winning a close 2-1 game en route to the regional title. With one loss on their record, the Athenas will need to take two games from the Wildcats on Sunday.

Tournament Homepage | Video | Live Stats | NCAA Bracket

By Emily Nordhoff
Sports Information Director

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