Dons Score 20 Runs Against Rustlers

Freshman starting pitcher Kirstin Gutierrez threw five innings of two-hit ball Friday before the game was called. / C. Harold Pierce / el Don

By C. Harold Pierce

Freshman pitcher Kirstin Gutierrez is beginning to make a habit of ending her starts early.

That’s actually a good thing.

Sophomore third baseman Danielle Hernandez launched a three-run bomb in a seven-run first inning Friday as the Dons dominated the Golden West College Rustlers 20-0 at home.

It was the Dons’ second conference mercy victory in less than two weeks, and its third of the month. Both came with Gutierrez on the mound.

The game was called at the top of the fifth inning after the Rustlers failed to score a run off Gutierrez, who pitched five scoreless innings of two-hit ball, striking out three and walking none.

“We have been able to do this with a couple wins this year. We put up a lot of runs and what’s made us so successful is focusing on our offense to take as much pressure off the pitcher,” left fielder Emily Whitecavage said.

Friday’s win marked the second 20-run performance for the Dons after whipping Orange Coast College 24-6 on the road in February. That game lasted six innings.

It was the Dons’ second conference mercy victory in less than two weeks, and its third of the month. Both came with Gutierrez on the mound.

The Rustlers sent out four pitchers who combined for 14 hits, eight walks and five extra-base hits.

Sophomore catcher Annie Dowling delivered a pair of doubles and two RBIs. First baseman Chantal Oelrich had two hits, including a two-run triple in the bottom of the third inning that widened the Dons’ lead to 18.

Freshman shortstop Katlyn Harvey was a perfect three-for-three and smashed a two-run double to right center. Harvey, Hernandez and sophomore center fielder Marissa Ross had three RBIs apiece.

SAC has strung together a three-game winning streak in conference play and will defend home field Monday against Cerritos.