ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Central Michigan Softball opened play at the NCAA Regional with an 8-1 loss to California on Friday afternoon in Ann Arbor.
Junior Cory DeLamielleure led Central Michigan with a hit and an RBI. Senior Brogan Darwin finished the game 1-3. Senior Kara Dornbos started in the circle, pitching three scoreless innings before giving up four runs in the fourth and fifth. Junior Chelsea Sundberg pitched 1.1 innings in relief, giving up six hits and four runs.
"I thought we came out fairly strong against a good Cal team," said CMU head coach Margo Jonker. "To score early was huge for us...then after they scored the three runs I felt we tightened up a little bit more and we didn't swing the bats as loose as we were before."
Victoria Jones went 2-3 with four RBIs and a homerun for the Golden Bears. Danielle Henderson recorded two solo-home runs. Lindsey Ziegenhart went 1-4 with a home run and two RBIs. Jolene Henderson pitched a complete game for Cal, and won her 31st game this season. She gave up two hits and struck out eight batters.
CMU opened the scoring in the top of the fourth. With one out, Raechel Zahrn reached first on a bobbled catch at first. Brittney Horan hit into a fielder’s choice catching Zahrn at second for the second out. Darwin kept the inning alive hitting a fast grounder through the legs of the first baseman. With two on and two out, Cory DeLamielleure hit a single into center field to drive Horan home from second. Darwin was caught trying to advance to third to end the top of the third, 1-0 in favor of Central Michigan.
With the 1-0 advantage, Horan made the first out in the bottom of the fourth, coming over from second to make the catch on a pop up fly from Danielle Henderson. Breana Kostreba got the Golden Bears’ (37-17, 10-14 PAC 12) second hit of the game, knocking a single to left field. Britt Vonk put two runners on after looking at ball four, bringing Victoria Jones to the plate. Jones put Cal on the scoreboard with a three-run homer over the left field wall.
Trailing 3-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Merchant chased down a hard hit ball to center for the first out. Ziegenhart represented the second out with a liner to Horan. Henderson extended Cal’s lead with a home run over the left field wall, putting the Golden Bears up 4-1. Sundberg came in for Dornbos with two out in the bottom of the fifth. Kostreba made her second hit of the game, hitting a single to center field out of the reach of Merchant. Vonk advanced the runner with a bunt placed on the left field line that Cox had no play on. Jones brought home one run with a single to center, putting runners on the corners with two out and leading 5-1.
The top of the sixth started with a strike out by Knoop. Merchant, 0-2 on the day, hit her third chopper of the game to third for the second out. Zahrn was unable to get anything going for the Chippewas (33-19, 18-7 MAC) in the sixth.
Vanessa Alvarez reached for the first time in the game with a slapper hit to left field for the Golden Bears. Darwin made the first out of the side, catching a fly ball hit by Cheyenne Cordes. Khala Taylor hit into a fielder’s choice for the second out, catching Alvarez at second. Taylor stole second, upending Sexauer coming over to make the play. With a runner on second and two out, Ziegenhirt hit a long home run off the scoreboard in left field, putting Cal up 7-1. Henderson followed with another Golden Bear home run, their third of the game. Kostreba was the final out of the inning, sending a fly ball to left for Darwin.
With an 8-1 advantage, Jolene Henderson struck out the Chippewas in order to end the game.
After a hitless first inning, Darwin led off the second with a single to third. DeLamielleure was unable to move the runner, striking out looking. Cox hit a liner to third for the second out and the Cal defense caught Darwin at first before she could tag up.
Kostreba led the second inning off for the Golden Bears with a walk. Vonk hit a pitch back to Dornbos, who made the throw at second to catch the lead runner for out number one. Cox made the second out on a liner from Victoria Jones, and threw over to first for the double play.
The Chippewas will play game two of their NCAA Regional journey tomorrow, May 18, at 2:30 p.m. Central Michigan will take on Valparaiso. The Crusaders fell to Michigan on May 17, 5-0.
Watch the Chippewas face off against Valparaiso on ESPN 3. Follow the link below.