The Athenas continued their strong start with a SCIAC double header sweep of Occidental College, 8-0, 10-2. Both games were completed in five innings under the NCAA 8 run rule.
Freshmen continue to set a demanding pace as left fielder Michelle Harvey [pictured] went two for five on the day, while scoring three runs. She was also stellar in the field making four catches on the day including a double-play catch and throw home on a tagging runner from third. The University City HS (San Diego) graduate has adjusted to the collegiate level quickly and has become a go-to defender and offensive producer.
Bay Area freshman, Melissa Munoz (Union City) also had a solid offensive day batting two for five, driving in two runs and smashing her first home run (estimated at 240 feet) over center field.
In the circle, sophomore Julia Cruz continued to execute. She threw a two hitter, while striking out three and walking none while facing 17 batters.
The greatest excitement on the day however, was the debut pitching performance of sophomore Dianna Buckett. Buckett, recovering from a frustrating injury-plagued freshman year and subsequent Tommy John surgery on her pitching elbow last summer, showed grit, heart, and tremendous potential in her first true collegiate outing. Facing 17 batters, she allowed two runs and had two strikeouts, while scattering seven hits. The defense behind her was superlative in support of her success with tremendous play coming from catcher Katerina Yale, who caught three runners stealing during Buckett's four innings of work.
Once again, the coaching staff was able to get every member of the program into one of the two games continuing to build depth for their post-season tournament hopes. In fact, sophomore Nicole Nakata (Honolulu, HI) was mobbed by her teammates after she singled in the winning run with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the fifth in game two.
The Athenas return to action against SUNY-Plattsburgh, currently ranked #12 in the nation, on Wednesday, March 19. This also begins a period on intense play where the team will compete on seven of 11 days, playing 12 games during that time. See the schedule for exact times and dates and come support Athena Softball.