In an historic day, the CMS Athenas swept ninth-ranked Chapman University for only the second time and the first since 1999. That year, the Athenas went on to earn a SCIAC title and the squad hopes this past weekend’s sweep bodes equally well for the 2009 season. CMS won 6-2 and 1-0 to improve to 6-1 overall while Chapman dropped to 4-6.
In an impressive one-two punch, the Athenas were led in the circle by senior Erika Weingart (Brea [pictured-left]) and junior Julia Cruz (Tustin [pictured-right]). In game one, after giving up two runs in the second inning, only one of them earned, Weingart settled into a rhythm and controlled the outing through the seventh. Innings three, five and seven saw only two runners reach base. CMS' defense was superb behind her withstanding a late charge in the top of the sixth that stranded three runners for the Panthers. Weingart (2-1) finished the outing having scattered five hits over seven complete innings to best the in-region rival and perennial power.
In game two, Cruz (3-0) held Chapman to just three hits, recording three strike-outs and one walk during seven complete innings of work. Cruz' productivity was critical in a game that went 0-0 until the Athenas were able to scratch out a run in the bottom of the seventh for the victory. Cruz, a proven clutch performer, has allowed only four runs in three games on the season, leaving her with a 1.12 ERA to date. In addition to the shut-out performance against Chapman, a 2-1 victory over conference rival Redlands one week ago has Cruz feeling confident and optimistic about the season ahead.
Pacing the Athenas offensively in game one were a trio of rookies. Freshmen Rebecca King (Bellevue, WA), Emily Nordhoff (Seattle, WA), and Emily Lopez (Fresno) led all hitters going five for eight collectively, while scoring two and driving in two more of CMS' six runs.
In game two, the trio of frosh once again proved they were more than ready to play at this level. After a tightly contested 0-0 game through six, Nordhoff (two for three on the day) was key once again leading off the bottom of the seventh with a rope double to right center. Lopez drew a walk to follow setting up runners at first and second. King stepped in to pinch hit and executed a critical sacrifice bunt moving runners to second and third. Lisa Gutierrez (SR, Alhambra), a proven performer in clutch situations, then stepped to the plate. As she has done time and time again, Gutierrez came through with a walk-off single plating pinch runner Emma Porterfield (SR, Santa Barbara) to seize the victory and seal the sweep.
The Athenas' defense continues to be fundamentally sharp as they committed only two errors on the day, both committed by injured second baseman Jessica Vaughn (SR, Placerville), playing tough on a badly bruised foot.
The Athenas return to action this weekend as they continue their push through SCIAC competition with a double-header at the University of La Verne on Saturday, March 7th. Game times are 12:00 and 2:00.