With 14 RBIs and two homeruns, the Leopards proved their power is in its swing in a sweep over Occidental on Saturday, 4-3 and 12-4.
La Verne also found its biggest detriment within that power with 11 fly outs and nine ground outs in both games.
“We have to work on stringing bats together and working through in clutch situations,” junior catcher Daryn Schiveley said.
Senior center fielder Mandy Brenner added two stolen bases to her record as well as a homerun.
The Leopards’ strength came through in the second and third innings of the second game, earning a total of eight runs.
To start the second inning, the first three batters loaded the bases and freshman third baseman Candice Nunez sent senior pinch runner Kaitlin Ward home on a walk. With Schiveley up to bat, Nunez and freshman designated hitter Raven Freret advanced while junior left fielder Dee Dee Burns scored on a passed ball.
Senior shortstop Ashley Paul singled sending Schiveley and Nunez home. With each new batter, the bases remained loaded, giving La Verne an advantage to bring in runs.
That is exactly what the Leopards continued to do in the third inning as well.
Burns started the inning off with a single up the middle and Freret homered to right center to add an additional two runs to the score. Nunez singled to left field then advanced to second on a walk by Schiveley.
All on an error by Occidental right fielder Julia Nicholson, Brenner reached base, Schiveley advanced to third and Nunez scored.
Brenner added to the momentum by stealing second while Schiveley sealed the lead with a remarkable slide around the catcher to barely tag home on a steal.
“Our bats came through tremendously today,” Freret said.
Occidental fought back with its only comeback of the game in the fourth inning bringing in four runs, but came up short the rest of the game with no runs or hits.
“There’s always that one inning,” Schiveley said. “If we can eliminate that one inning we give up, we’d be on top every time.”
La Verne pounded out three more runs in the sixth inning.
To finish the inning, Schiveley grounded out while Nunez and Freret advanced; sending Burns home on an unearned run.
Paul knocked in Freret on a sacrifice fly and Brenner doubled in Nunez ending the game at 12-4 in the bottom of the sixth due to the mercy rule.
La Verne outhit Occidental 17-10 with Occidental making five errors.
Senior pitcher Delaney Baylor earned her seventh victory allowing two earned runs and three strikeouts and freshman pitcher Laura Olson improved her record to 6-3 while striking out six in the second game.
The hitting star in game one for La Verne was Brenner, scoring two runs while driving in two including a homerun.
In the second game Freret and Paul each drove in three runs while Burns scored four runs, and Nunez added three.
The Leopards record at the end of game two is 15-10 overall and 9-3 in SCIAC play.
“We are pretty satisfied with where we are so far, but we definitely need to work,” said Freret.
“We are headed in a good direction.”
La Verne faces Pacific Lutheran next at 1 p.m. Monday, at Wheeler Park.
“We need commitment from all of us; we are in a position to win the conference,” head coach Julie Smith said. “Home or away shouldn’t make a difference. We are on a mission. We’re starting to gel up more.”
Krista Franceschini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.