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    Pacific Softball: No One-Hit Wonder In Armagost As The Tigers Upset No. 22 Northwestern, 4-2

    Feb 26, 2010
    Looking for yet another upset under the sun at the Cathedral City Classic, the Pacific softball team rode the freshman arm of Nikki Armagost (Andover, Kan.) to an impressive 4-2 win over No. 22 Northwestern on Friday, February 26. The win was the second of the tournament for the Tigers over a top ranked team while they moved to 4-5 on the year. The Wildcats dropped to 5-6 overall for the season.

    In the first, the Tigers threatened at the top of the order as they put their first two runners on base to start the game. After freshman Megan Hom (Irvine, Calif.) posted an infield single to put runners at first and second, Armagost moved the runners into scoring position with a chopped ball to the left side of the infield. However, that would be as far as the Tigers would get in the inning as Jessica Smith, Northwestern's starter, stranded the pair by inducing a shallow fly to left field and picking up her first strike out of the game.

    Pacific stranded their third runner on base in the second inning as they threatened to score for the second time after freshman Amy Moore (Valencia, Calif.) led the inning off with a single up the middle. After an illegal pitch moved the Tigers runner to second, Pacific was unable to pick up the needed hit to get the runner in.

    After threatening in the first two innings, the Tigers finally broke through in the third inning against Smith, taking advantage of a pair of singles and another illegal pitch to put runners on second and third with only one out. Senior Kellee Wilson (Tracy, Calif.) did not waste the opportunity for Pacific as she lifted a fly ball to right field that brought home junior Lindsey Pierce (Camarillo, Calif.) from third. Pierce had started the inning with a single down the left field line and was followed by Armagost singling through the left side of the infield. 

    The Tigers were strike again two innings later led by senior Brittany Hendrickson (San Jose, Calif.) who started the inning off with an infield single. She would work here way to third on a sacrifice slap by Pierce and a passed ball, putting herself 60 feet from pay dirt with Hom up to bat. A chop back at the pitcher was all Hendrickson needed to put the Tigers' second run on the board as she timed Smith's throw to first perfectly, breaking for home and scoring with relative ease.

    Wilson struck again in the top of the sixth, slugging a solo shot over the left field foul pole to kick start the crooked number inning for Pacific. The home run was the second of the tournament for the senior after she hit a grand slam to beat No. 21 Tennessee the previous day. After Wilson homered, the Tigers proceeded to tack on one more in the inning using small ball tactics. A hit batter and an infield chop single by Moore put runners on first and second while sophomore Alexa Rivera(Sacramento, Calif.) moved the runners up 60 feet with a sacrifice bunt down the third base line. Freshman Megan Allen(Yucaipa, Calif.) would bring home the second run of the inning on a hard hit ball up the middle that forced the pitcher to go to first, allowing sophomore Robin Nelson (Morgan Hill, Calif.) to score form third. Nelson had entered to run for the Tigers' earlier in the inning.

    Defensively, Armagost was called upon to start the game in the circle for Pacific, a place she had seen just once prior on the collegiate level. Just as she did against Fresno State two weeks prior, Armagost was on top of her game against the Wildcats, giving up just one hit through the first five innings of work while getting into little trouble. However, a string of wildness in the bottom of the fifth would cost the freshman her shutout bid as she walked three in the inning and ended up giving up an unearned run.

    In the sixth, Armagost would pitch her way out of a small jam, stranding runners at second and third for the Wildcats. In the seventh, the Tigers defense made it interesting on their young pitcher, giving a run to the Wildcats before Armagost induced a weak popup to first base by Northwestern's No. 3 hitter to record the final out of the game.

    In all, Armagost out did her first start to pick up her first collegiate victory in the circle. In seven complete innings, Armagost allowed just one hit, a single to the second hitter of the game, while striking out four. Her counterpart, Smith, went five innings, giving up six hits and three runs to fall for the first time in 2010.

    The Tigers picked up nine hits against Northwestern in the game. Pierce, Hom and Moore each recorded two hits in the win to lead the way.

    Pacific will be back in action at 1:00 pm to take on Colorado State at the Cathedral City Classic.