By: James Ritchey
Women’s Basketball (21-6, 11-3 CalPac)
ERAU 84 – 99 UC Merced
The Eagles’ stellar season came to an end with a loss in the CalPac postseason tournament to UC Merced.
The game was tight from the beginning, as the Eagles and Bobcats stayed within two possessions of each other throughout the first quarter.
A three from Haley Villegas gave ERAU a 21-20 lead going into the second quarter, but both sides still kept up their momenta.
Another three by Villegas kicked off the second quarter, and both ERAU and UCM began to rely heavily on outside shooting.
UCM made six threes in the second quarter alone, and ERAU matched them with three of their own and some points in the paint. Halftime saw the Eagles down 45-48.
The game turned around in the third quarter, as the Bobcats scored 10 straight points to start the second half and build up a 45-58 lead.
UCM kept the defensive pressure up, restricting ERAU to just eight points in the third quarter.
The Eagles rebounded in the fourth quarter, scoring 31 points, but it was not enough to secure a full comeback.
UCM had a field goal percentage of 0.524, and shot 56% from beyond the arc. Haley Villegas and Jazlyn Maletino both had 18 points.
NAIA National Tournament
Six wrestlers from ERAU competed in the NAIA National Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa.
Overall, the Eagles placed 26th, with 15.5 overall points. Eli Mason competed in the 197-lb bracket, taking eight overall and earning All-American honors.
David Salazar also did very well, competing in the 141-lb tournament and finishing in eighth to also earn All-American honors.
Kody Davis wrestled in the 174-lb bracket, winning two of his matches and earning three points for ERAU as a whole.
In the 157-lb matches, James Williams won his first match by decision, but dropped his next two, still earning two team points.
24-25 Feb (Home)
Copper State Classic
ERAU finished 2-2 in their home tournament, the Copper State Classic. Due to the winter weather, the tournament had to be shortened to just two days, but the Eagles still were able to perform.
ERAU 4 – 12 Arizona Christian University
In their first game of the tournament, the Eagles struggled offensively, only scoring in the first two innings.
ACU hit a home run in their first at bat of the game, but ERAU was able to respond with two hits and two runs in the first inning.
Two more runs in the second inning gave the Eagles a larger lead, but they were unable to generate any more offense for the rest of the game.
ACU scored five runs in the fourth and five runs in the fifth to create a sizeable lead, which they held until the game was called after the sixth inning.
Bailey Critchlow had two RBIs in the game.
ERAU 3 – 4 BU-Mesa
After a loss to ACU, the Eagles had a much closer game in their second of the tournament.
The Redhawks jumped ahead in the first inning by scoring three runs on three hits.
However, ERAU pitchers Carly Carlsen and Olivia Ramos held them to just one more run for the rest of the game.
Battling from behind, the Eagles earned a run in the fifth off a single from Rylee Payton, then scored twice more when Haley Basye hit a home run in the seventh inning.
Unfortunately, ERAU was held to just that and could not complete a comeback.
ERAU 11 – 8 University of Antelope Valley
The Eagles earned their first win of the weekend with a late game burst of offense.
Haley Basye hit a two run homer in the third inning, but the Eagles found themselves down 2-6 going into the top of the fifth.
Bailey Critchlow homered in the fifth inning to grant the Eagles another run and produce some momentum.
Bailey Critchlow hit a grand slam in the sixth inning as part of a 5-run effort to take the lead.
Three more runs in the seventh inning sealed the victory.
ERAU 11 – 10 BU-Mesa
In their final game of the tournament, several home runs by the Eagles earned them a victory in their second game against the Redhawks.
Haley Basye and Kaila Romero both homered for a total of four runs in the first inning to give ERAU the early lead.
BU-Mesa came back with four runs in the third and five in the fourth. By the bottom of the fourth, ERAU was down 5-9.
Hannah Deluna then hit a two-run home run to cut down that lead.
The Eagles took a decisive lead in the sixth, when another three runs were scored off a home run by Daisy Hatcher-Taylor.
26 Feb (Home)
ERAU 7-6, 11-8 Goshen College
Softball continued their successes from their home tournament, taking two games from Goshen College at home. In game one, consistency was the key to their success.
Goshen hit two home runs in the first inning to give themselves an early 3-0 lead, but their offense never continued at that pace.
Haley Basye scored Zoe Streadbeck in the first inning to start the ERAU offense. Each side earned a run in the second, and bats were quiet on both sides until the fifth inning came around.
Goshen was able to score one run on an error, but the Eagles responded when Daisy Hatcher-Taylor batted in two runs on a double to right center.
The sixth inning played out similarly, as Goshen scored once on an error, but ERAU responded with greater force.
Zoe Streadbeck hit a double to score Bailey Critchlow, then Haley Basye hit another double to score two runs and give the Eagles a decisive lead.
In the second game, The Eagles started off with a heavy offense, which they defended until the end of the game.
ERAU picked up five runs in the first inning, giving them a lead they would not give up for the rest of the game.
Three more runs in the second inning made sure the Leafs stayed behind, and Lani Kaleikini closed out the game on the mound to ensure the Eagles stayed ahead.
11 March (Away)
ERAU 7 – 6, 4 – 13 La Sierra
The Eagles opened conference play with a split doubleheader at La Sierra.
In game one, the Eagles started out strongly when Hannah DeLuna’s sacrifice fly scored Bailey Critchlow in the first inning.
However, LSU quickly responded with three runs of their own in the first.
In the third inning, the Eagles earned five runs due to a series of LSU errors, and LSU was never able to recover.
ERAU scored once more in the fourth, and LSU’s two runs in the fourth and one in the sixth gave the Eagles their first conference victory of the season.
In game two, a disastrous second inning prevented the Eagles from putting up a significant fight.
ERAU scored twice in the fourth inning and twice more in the fifth, but another explosion came when LSU scored five runs in the fifth inning to call the game early.
25-27 Feb: Cal Baptist Invite
The Eagles travelled to Jurupa, Calif., to compete in the Cal Baptist Women’s Golf Joust, hosted at Goose Creek Golf Club.
ERAU tied for ninth of 16 overall, with a weekend team score of 634. Nicole Lopes and Jessica Williams tied for 38th place overall, both earning a score of 158.
Elle Carson and Trae Jones were right behind them, each scoring 159 to tie for 42nd place.
In the first round, Carson hit a 74, the lowest score for the Eagles all weekend. Jones matched her in the second round.
Lopes and Williams performed exactly the same all weekend, both scoring 80 for round one and 78 for round two.