Pacific Softball: Bring Out The Brooms, Pacific Sweeps UC Santa Barbara With Another Shutout
Playing on the road for the final time in 2010, the Tigers put the finishing touches on their first sweep of the season as they earned their third straight shutout of the weekend, 4-0, over UC Santa Barbara on Sunday, May 9. The win for the Tigers improved their overall record to 23-28 while pushing their conference record back to .500 at 9-9 while the Gauchos fell to 13-36 on the year and 4-14 in the Big West.
The Sunday victory for the Tigers also marked their first series sweep in conference play since the 2007 season when Pacific swept UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside on back-to-back weekends to begin Big West play.
Picking up where they left off the day before, the Tigers got to work early against the Gauchos and never let up en route to their third consecutive victory. Using small ball tactics to manufacture their scoring opportunities, the Tigers pushed across runs in three different innings to do their damage.
In the first, the Tigers struck for their first score of the afternoon as they put together a small rally without ever hitting the ball out of the infield. As she had done all weekend, junior Lindsey Pierce (Camarillo, Calif.) started the game off for the Tigers with an infield single in the hole between short and third, beating out the throw to give Pacific its first runner of the inning. Despite attempting to move Pierce up 60 feet with a sacrifice bunt, freshman Megan Hom's (Irvine, Calif.) placement of her bunt was too fine for the Gaucho corner defenders to make a play on, gibing the Tigers runners at first and second with back-to-back hits. Again looking to sacrifice the runners over, freshman Nikki Armagost (Andover, Kan.) put down a bunt down the third base line which did no even draw a throw to first for the Tigers' third infield single to begin the game.
With the bases loaded, senior Kellee Wilson (Tracy, Calif.) hit a sharp ground ball to the left side which resulted in the Tigers' first out of the inning but also drove home the first run. The one run would be all the Tigers would get in the opening frame, however, as the Gauchos turned an inning ending double play on a ball driven down the third base line but right into the awaiting hands of the defense.
Up one run and after being denied runs in the fourth despite loading the bases with two outs in the inning, the Tigers nailed down two more runs of support four innings later when the top of the order struck again. Leading off the inning with an infield single to short, Pierce moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a passed ball that resulted in a walk to Armagost which put runners on the corners. Just as she had done in the first, Wilson delivered again from the cleanup spot in the order for the Tigers as she singled to left to plate Pierce for the second time in the game. Two batters later, sophomore Alexa Rivera(Sacramento, Calif.) drove home the second run of the inning with a sharp ground ball back up the middle and off the Gaucho pitcher that allowed Armagost to score from third.
In the seventh, Rivera drove home a fourth insurance run with an RBI double down the left field line which brought home Armagost from second after she had reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the inning.
After picking up her first win in nearly a month the day prior, Armagost did not waste any time picking up win number two of the weekend as she shutout the Gauchos in the circle for the second straight day. Needing a little more help from her defense then the day prior, Armagost scattered five hits throughout the afternoon while striking out two and issuing no free passes in seven complete innings of work. Behind the plate, freshman Amy Moore (Valencia, Calif.) again helped her pitcher out by picking off a runner at first after the Gauchos had put runners on the corners to begin start their half of the first inning.
Offensively, the Tigers were led by Hom who finished the day 3-for-3 at the plate with one sacrifice while Pierce added two hits and two runs scored.
The Tigers are back in action on Friday, May 14 when they take on Cal Poly at Bill Simoni Field to start their final Big West series of the season. The double header is scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm.