Pacific softball: Tigers Sweep Santa Clara For Their First Wins Of 2010
Playing at home for the first time this season, the Tigers needed a few innings to get their motors going before running away from the Broncos in game one of their double-header. While the offense slowely got started, the Tigers' defense kept the Broncos in check, led by their battery of junior Shaina Brock (Derby, Kan.) in the circle and senior Karie Wilson(Glendale, Ariz.) behind the plate.
Despite not having what she would consider her best stuff working for her in the contest, Brock dispatched Bronco hitters with relative ease in the early innings of the contest as she picked up five strike outs in the first three innings including striking out the side to start the game in the first inning. Even when Santa Clara did manage to put a few runners on base, Wilson sent them packing back to the dugout, throwing out three would-be base stealers in the first four innings of play including gunning down two in the second inning.
In addition to Wilson helping Brock in the circle, freshman Nikki Armagost (Andover, Kan.) stopped a Bronco rally dead in its tracks in the third inning, preserving the shutout early for Brock by throwing out the first potential run for Santa Clara at the plate with a perfectly thrown strike to Wilson from left field. As with the would-be base stealers, the Broncos tried to be aggressive on the base paths, send a runner from second on a single through the left side, only to see their best scoring opportunity of the contest cut down at the plate.With the defense holding strong, Pacific's offense finally got rolling late in the game, starting a ally in the bottom of the fifth inning that put the Broncos away. After picking up a leadoff walk, the Tigers got on the board for the first time courtesy of their senior catcher when Wilson lined a shot over the left-center field fence for her first and the Tigers' first home run of the season. With the first two runs on the board, the Tigers would tack on two more runs, both of the unearned variety after the top of the lineup, junior Lindsey Pierce (Camarillo, Calif.) and freshmanMegan Hom (Irvine, Calif.) picked up back-to-back singles following Wilson's home run.
After posting four in the fifth, the Tigers would add a fifth insurance run in the sixth inning, again taking advantage of a leadoff walk to sophomore Alexa Rivera (Sacramento, Calif.) to tally the run. Rivera would score on a single by Pierce, her second hit of the game.
Thanks to her defense and the Tigers' late five runs, Brock picked up her first win at Pacific to move to 1-2 on the year. The junior finished the game with seven strike outs in seven complete innings while only giving up four hits and walking five. Her counterpart, Ali Nash, was tagged with the loss as she gave up six hit and four runs in 4.1 innings pitched.
Not wasting the momentum picked up from game one, the Tigers immediately jumped on the Broncos in the top of the first inning to start game two, again posting a crooked number with two runs in the inning. Facing Riley McKay, who finished the first game for the Broncos, the Tigers posted three straight hits to start the game with Pierce and Hom each grabbing singles while junior Nicole Matson (Castaic, Calif.) drilled her third double of the season to right-center. Following the second out of the inning, Armagost came through at the plate for the Tigers with a two-RBI single to center to get the Tigers rolling. She would finish the game 2-for-4 at the plate after doubling down the left field line in the fourth, her second double of the season.
After resting for an inning, the Tiger offense went back to work in the third, tallying two more runs in the inning courtesy of Matson's first home run of the season. With Hom on second after a leadoff double, Matson let loose a mammoth shot to left field on a 2-1 pitch, driving a deep home run that landed nearly 50 feet over the fence for her first RBIs of the day.
Looking to put the game away, Pacific added two more runs in the fourth, both unearned runs to spot their starter, sophomore Gabby McDaniel (Sacramento, Calif.) with a six run lead.
In the circle, McDaniel put her run support to good use, controlling the Bronco offense with a mix of speeds and placement to rack up seven strike outs in seven complete innings of work, just as Brock had done in the first contest. Throughout the afternoon, McDaniel got into just one true jam, loading the bases in the top of the fourth inning with two outs, only to induce a weak pop-up back to the circle which she put away herself to end the threat. In all, McDaniel scattered five hits in her outing to pick up her first win of the season to move to 1-1 on the year while also picking up her first complete game shutout.
McKay was given the loss after pitching just one inning, giving up four hits and two runs. Overall, the Bronco pitchers gave up 11 hits and six runs to the Tigers in the second game of the day while striking out one and walking three.
Offensively, Pierce and Hom led the way for the Tigers at the top of the lineup with 11 combined hits in the two games with Pierce posting five and Hom tallying six. Additionally, the duo tallied five of the 11 runs while Matson posted three more to give the top three hitters eight of the 11 total runs.
The Tigers will be back in action on Sunday, February 21, in San Jose, Calif. as they take on the Spartans of San Jose State at 12:00 pm. Check back to the Pacific website www.PacificTigers.com for weather updates concerning Sunday's game.