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The Orion

Wildcats lose both in doubleheader after a nail-biting finish

The Wildcats drop both games in doubleheader after game two ends by a bang-bang play at the plate doesn’t go in their favor.
Senior Tayler Berens at the plate for the Wildcats. Photo taken by Lukas Mann on March 8.

The Sonoma State Seawolves (8-7, 5-3 CCAA) offense was the key difference in game one of Friday’s doubleheader 8-2. 

Wildcats (3-14, 3-11 CCAA) starting sophomore pitcher Amelie Valdez didn’t get out to the start she had hoped for. The Seawolves struck first and opened up the game with two runs after a triple from Lauren Mirtoni.

Once they got their turn at the plates, the Wildcats were looking to answer back. They did so after piecing together three consecutive singles from senior Tayler Berens, freshman Lilly Cante and sophomore Hannah Levy, shortening their deficit to one run. 

The Seawolves’ bats stayed hot throughout the game as they mounted a 5-1 lead through four innings, tallying eight hits in total. 

However, the Wildcats started making some noise in the bottom half of the fourth inning. Another line drive to left field from Berens scored sophomore Brianna Swihart, reducing the lead to three runs. 

Freshman Sophia Tassinari made a statement after coming in to pitch for Valdez, throwing back-to-back scoreless innings and striking out four.

Consistent offensive production from the Seawolves and a couple of errors from the Wildcats kept the game out of reach and led to a final score of 2-8 in favor of Sonoma State. 

Game two was highlighted by the shutdown performance from junior starting pitcher Katelyn Oldwin. 

Oldwin dominated the Seawolves through five innings, not allowing any runs and striking out six while only giving up five hits. However, Sonoma State’s senior starting pitcher Nichole Sarra went back and forth with Oldwin in an outstanding outing of her own, throwing five and two-thirds scoreless innings while only allowing three hits.

Throughout the game, the Wildcats kept working counts and landing runners in scoring position, but were never able to convert them into the runs they needed. 

Things were knotted up at zero heading into the sixth inning after some strong defense from both teams. Wildcats sophomore third baseman Karlie Bilbrey turned electric double plays in back-to-back innings to keep things tied. 

“It really fires me up when I see my defense making plays,” Oldwin said. “I feel like it just changes the whole vibe and gives us the momentum.”

Sonoma State was the first to strike after a single and a walk landed a runner in scoring position, who was eventually able to break the seal after a bloop single to left from the Seawolves.

With the Wildcats being down to their last three outs, they needed a spark. Berens was once again the veteran who answered the call by hitting a laser to left field which wasn’t fielded cleanly, landing her on second with one out. 

After advancing to third on a ground out, the Wildcats were 60 feet away from a tie game but down to their last out.. On a passed ball, Berens attempted to steal home but was unfortunately called out in a devastating finish for the Wildcats. 

Chico State softball is back in action on Saturday with another doubleheader at Nettlton Stadium at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a chance to split the series if they win out. 

Lukas Mann can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Lukas Mann, Reporter
Lukas Mann is a journalism major with a minor in broadcasting. He is currently enrolled in his third-year at Chico State. Lukas has had a keen interest in sports for the majority of his life and is looking forward to integrating that passion into his work and effort for The Orion. After graduation, he hopes to be a writer for any professional sports teams having to do with the big four sports.

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