Pacific Softball: Two-Run First All McDaniel Needs To Take Down Northwestern, 2-1
Snapping out of their early game offensive funk that has plagued them throughout the tournament, the Tigers dented the plate first against the Wildcats, posting a pair of runs in their first trip to the dish in the game. Using a bout of wildness and called illegal pitches, Pacific put its first three batters on base with out the benefit of a hit. Presented with a golden scoring opportunity, senior Kellee Wilson (Tracy, Calif.) brought in the first Tiger run of the inning with a deep sacrifice fly to right field. On the play, junior Lindsey Pierce (Camarillo, Calif.) came into score while freshman Megan Hom (Irvine, Calif.) put herself just sixty feet from pay dirt.
The play by Hom would prove to be a big one when freshman Nikki Armagost (Andover, Kan.) slashed a shot down left field line in the very next at bat to plate the second run of the inning. The Tigers added a second single off the bat of freshman Amy Moore (Valencia, Calif.) to load the bases for a second time, however, they would leave the runs on base after back-to-back ground ball outs.
In the sixth, the Tigers posted another big threat against the Wildcats as they again loaded the bases with no outs, after picking up two infield singles by freshman Megan Allen (Irvine, Calif.) and senior Brittany Hendrickson (San Jose, Calif.) while an error on a sacrifice gave the Tigers their third runner. However, the Tigers were not able to pick up any insurance runs in the inning after hitting a pair of ground balls, the second of which led to an inning-ending double play."Offensively I think we did a great job and hit the ball harder and better than our results showed," said Head Coach Brian Kolze. "They made some great plays to get out of a couple of innings."
Pitching for the Tigers, sophomore Gabby McDaniel (Sacramento, Calif.) threw a complete game three-hitter to pick up her second win (2-2) of the season. Throughout the day, McDaniel got into little trouble as she nearly duplicated Armagost's shutout of the Wildcats from the previous week.
In the second, McDaniel got her only jam of the afternoon as she battled the strike zone, issuing a pair of walks and giving up her first hit of the game. Despite loading the bases for the Wildcats, McDaniel was able to pitch her way out of trouble to preserve her two run lead.
Through the next three innings, McDaniel held the Wildcats off the scorebook allowing a single base runner in each inning, but no runs. After holding the Northwestern down for the first 5.1 innings of the contest, the Wildcats finally cracked McDaniels' hold on the game with a solo home run to left field off the bat of Nicole Pauly. The home run was just the third hit of the game for Northwestern and first for Pauly against the Tigers in two games.
In the seventh, McDaniel set Northwestern down in order to complete the game. Overall, she gave up three hits and one run while striking out five and walking five. Lauren Delaney picked up the loss as she was pulled in the first inning without recording an out after facing just two batters due to trouble with illegal pitches. She was charged with both runs in the inning. Meghan Lamberth went the rest of the way for the Wildcats as she allowed all eight hits to the Tigers but was not charged with a run. She walked two in the game while striking out one.
"You have to give a lot of credit today to Gabby today because she threw the best game she has thrown all year, and maybe at times last season, today," said Kolze. "[McDaniel] threw a great game against a good team and we absolutely needed it at the end of two weeks of tough tournament play."
"It was definitely a great team win because everybody on the team contributed to the win to end the weekend."
The Tigers will next be in action at the Diamond Devil Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. on Friday, March 12, when they play Nebraska to open the tournament. The first game is scheduled for 12:00 pm.