NORTHRIDGE, CA – The Army West Point softball team closed out the CSUN Early Bird Classic with a thrilling 4-3 victory in nine innings over CSU Bakersfield on Sunday afternoon.
The Black Knights dropped their first game of the day, 6-4, against Santa Clara, and moved to 4-6 on the year. Santa Clara improved to 1-6 on the year, while the Roadrunners fell to 4-3.
Sophomore Taylor Livingston led the Black Knights with four hits on the afternoon, including a three-hit effort against Santa Clara. Grace Mattimore and Emily Ballesteros added three base knocks, while Mattimore contributed one of Army’s two doubles and drove in a team-high two runs.
Rookie Jolie Duong was dominant once again in the circle, tossing all nine innings of the night cap and striking out a season-high six batters. The Houston, Texas, native scattered seven hits and three walks while allowing just three runs (two earned).
Game 1: Santa Clara 6, Army 4
Santa Clara jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first with a pair of RBI singles.
Army responded in the home half when Mattimore roped an RBI double to right center and evened the game with an RBI groundout by Taylor Drayton the following inning.
The Broncos recaptured the lead in the third and extended it to 5-2 in the fourth.
The Black Knights capitalized on an error and utilized a single by Mattimore to get the game within one, but an insurance run in the seventh put the game out of reach for Santa Clara.
Game 2: Army 4, Csu Bakersfield 3 (9 Innings)
Army got out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning following a single by rookie Bianca Gonzalez that plated Taylor Drayton.
That score held until the bottom of the seventh when CSU Bakersfield received the game-tying, pinch hit RBI double from Ariana Acedo.
Ballesteros put the Black Knights back in front in the top of the eighth with an RBI single to right center before scoring on a fielding error to take a 3-1 lead.
The Roadrunners responded with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning to force the two sides to head to the ninth inning.
Ally Snelling provided Army with the game-winning hit in the ninth with a single to center that scored Madi Gilmore to send the Black Knights home with a victory.
Interim Head Coach Bob Beretta – “We had a very nice bounce back win against CSU Bakersfield. We overcame a great deal of adversity throughout the game and displayed a tremendous amount of resiliency. It’s tough to be one strike away from closing out a win and seeing that opportunity slip away. To be able to fight through that and come back to win in extra innings speaks volumes to the character of the players on this team.”