Pacific softball: Conference Play Starts With A Bang As Pacific Splits At Long Beach State
Looking to get off to a good start in conference action, the Tigers suffered what could have been a demoralizing loss in the opening game of the double-header with the 49ers as they gave up one big inning which caused the loss. After giving up just one hit through the first three innings of play, junior Shaina Brock (Derby, Kan.) suffered from a bout of wildness in the bottom of the fourth inning, leading to four walks in the inning including two to start the inning. The opening walks lead eventually led to a bases loaded situation from which the 49ers batted around to score all seven of their runs. On top of two free runs walked in, Long Beach State got its biggest hit of the game from Nalani St. Germain who cleared the bases with a three-RBI double as the ninth batter to the plate to put the 49ers up six runs at the time.
With their seven run inning, the 49ers were able to pick up their first win of the conference season behind Brooke Turner in the circle as she threw a complete game, two-hit shutout against the Tigers, venturing into trouble just once after leading walking Pacific's leadoff hitters. In all, Turner struck out seven and walked two to earn her ninth win of the year. For Brock, the junior fell to 4-7 on the year as she went all six for the Tigers, giving up seven hits and seven runs while striking out three and walking four.
After suffering the loss in game one, the Tigers could have fallen victim to the momentum gained by the 49ers and rolled over in game two for a second loss. However, the Tigers came out with a renewed sense of urgency to start the second game of the afternoon, jumping on Long Beach State early before finishing off the 49ers late for their first win of the young conference season.To open the game, the Tigers immediately broke through their scoreless drought to post the first run of the game. After junior Lindsey Pierce (Camarillo, Calif.) kicked off the contest with her second leadoff walk of the afternoon, the Tigers heart of the order delivered when freshman Nikki Armagost (Andover, Kan.) drove home Pierce with a double off the fence in right field.
In the second, a leadoff single by sophomore Alexa Rivera (Sacramento, Calif.) again led to a single run in the inning after she moved to third on a single by freshman Amy Moore (Valencia, Calif.) and a sacrifice by senior Brittany Hendrickson (San Jose, Calif.). With Rivera just one base from scoring. Pierce picked up her first RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to left which was just deep enough for Rivera to advance the final 60 feet she needed to score.
Up 2-0, the Tigers found themselves staring at another troubled fourth inning as the 49ers finally broke through against Armagost, who started the game for the Tigers in the circle, after she was perfect through the first three innings of play. A leadoff walk again proved to be the problem as the 49ers loaded the bases with no outs in the inning. Finding herself in a major jam, Armagost was able to get the first two outs of the inning by inducing a ground ball double play to third that cut the lead run down at the plate while getting the second out at first. The celebration of getting the first two outs was short lived for the Tigers, however, when Caitrin DeBaun singled to center on the next at bat to drive home the two runs and tie the game.
Seeing her lead taken away in one inning, Armagost took her own record into her hands in the top of the fifth inning when she blasted her second career home run down the right field line to put her team back on top, 3-2. Despite gusting winds coming from straight away center, Armagost was able to slice her shot into the wind and down the line giving the Tigers their 10th team home run of the year.
Back ahead, Armagost took care of the 49ers over the final two innings of play, pitching out of a two-out, two runner jam in the seventh to secure the win. Throwing all seven innings, Armagost improved to 6-4 on the year as she gave up just four hits and two runs while striking out five and walking two. Her counterpart, Taylor Petty fell to 6-9 as she relinquished nine hits and three runs to the Tigers while striking out eight and walking five.
As a team, Pacific was led by Pierce and Armagost offensively as the duo each had two hits in the game while each scoring one run. Senior Karie Wilson (Glendale, Ariz.) finished the day with two hits as well as she posted a single hit in each of the two games.
The win for the Tigers snapped a six game losing streak to the 49ers.
The two teams will face off in the rubber game of the series on Saturday, April 3, at 1:00 pm.