Pacific Softball: Back-to-Back Shutouts Give Tigers Their First Double Header Win In Conference
Putting all three facets of the game together throughout the day, the Pacific softball team picked up a pair of 7-0 shutouts over UC Santa Barbara on Saturday, May 8. The pair of wins for the Tigers on the day marked the first double header sweep of the conference season for Pacific while improving their record to 22-28 overall and 8-9 in the Big West while the Gauchos fell to 13-35 on the year and 4-13 in the conference.
Opening their final road series of the season, the Tigers went to work against the Gauchos from the first inning until the last, manufacturing 14 total runs in the two games combined. Typically relying on the long ball to do the damage as of late, the Tigers went without a home run in the two games, instead, using clutch singles and the occasional double to plate all their runs.
In the opening game, the Tigers got to the Gauchos immediately, scoring two runs in the first frame. After junior Lindsey Pierce (Camarillo, Calif.) started things off with a leadoff walk, freshmen Megan Hom (Irvine, Calif.) and Nikki Armagost (Andover, Kan.) followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases without an out being recorded in the inning. After struggling to score in similar situations a week prior, the Tigers did not waste their opening chance when senior Karie Wilson (Glendale, Ariz.) delivered a single to left center which brought home the first two runs of the contest.
Held off the scoreboard but not out of the hit column over the next three innings, the Tigers persistence at the plate again paid off when they broke open the game in the top of the fifth inning with three runs. More impressively then just scoring three runs, the Tigers did all their damage in the inning with two outs. Again, Pierce kick started the run for Pacific as she led the inning off with a single to center, her second hit of the game. After Hom moved Pierce up 60 feet with a sacrifice, the Tigers caught another break when a passed ball allowed the junior right fielder to advance to third. With the free base taken, Armagost delivered a deep fly ball to left field that allowed Pierce to tag up and score easily.
Up 3-0, the Tigers continued the inning with a double down the left field line by senior Kellee Wilson (Tracy, Calif.). After a walk put Karie Wilson aboard as well, sophomore Alexa Rivera (Sacramento, Calif.) and freshman Megan Allen (Yucaipa, Calif.) lined back-to-back singles back up the middle to bring home the final two runs of the inning.
In the sixth, Pacific tacked on a pair of unearned insurance runs to put the game away. The seven runs at the plate was all junior Shaina Brock (Derby, Kan.) needed in the circle to pick up her third straight conference victory. From the outset, Brock over matched the Gaucho hitters with every pitch in her arsenal as she took a perfect game into the fourth inning before allowing her first walk and her first hit of the game. In the inning, Brock got some help from her defense to get out of the only semblance of trouble she felt throughout the entire game as freshman Amy Moore (Valencia, Calif.) picked off the lead runner at second to put down the brewing rally.
In total, Brock relinquished just two hits in seven innings of work as she faced just two batters over the minimum while needing just 78 pitches to pick up the win. Overall, Brock added seven strike outs to her season total while issuing just one walk.
After dominating the Gauchos in game one, the Tigers came out in the second game and put to rest any concerns of a possible let down game in the afternoon contest with a solid showing in the field and at the plate. As Brock did in the first game, Armagost followed suit in the second contest by mimicking the junior nearly pitch for pitch. Through four innings of work, Armagost allowed just one hit, a blooper to left field in the second with two outs in the inning. In the fifth, Armagost allowed a pair of runners on to start the inning as she walked the leadoff batter for the Gauchos before allowing her second hit of the game. Despite the two runners aboard, Armagost got out of the inning without any issues as she picked up three straight outs to end the inning quietly.
In seven full innings pitched, Armagost struck out three and walked just one to snap a bad-luck seven game losing streak in the circle and pick up her first win since April 13.
With Armagost dealing in the circle, the Tigers offense needed three innings to adjust to the Gauchos' new pitcher in game two before unleashing in the fourth. After Allen broke through with the Tigers' first hit of the game in the third, Pacific put together a long 11 batter inning in the fourth to plate five runs. With a little help from the Gauchos in the field and in the circle, the Tigers used three clutch hits to post all the runs they would need in the game.
Again, the Tigers started the big inning off by working a lead off walk as Armagost's free pass was followed by a hit batter to put two runners on. Despite the early trouble, the Gauchos were able to record the first two outs of the inning on the next to at bats before walking Allen to load the bases. Making use of the gifted situation, Moore laced a double off the fence in left-center field, clearing the bases of Tigers and giving Pacific a 3-0 lead. The double was her second of the day. With Moore aboard, the next four batters all reached base as senior Brittany Hendrickson (San Jose, Calif.) and Pierce each singled while Hom and Armagost reached on fielding errors with Pierce picking up an RBI on her hit while Armagost's ground ball brought home the final run.
In the seventh, the Tigers tacked on two insurance runs for good measure with Rivera picking up the two RBI on a one-out double to left-center which plated Armagost and Kellee Wilson.
For the day, Pierce led the way with four hits on seven at bats with one walk while Moore, Allen and Hendrickson each recorded three hits. Moore and Rivera tied for the team-lead with three RBI.
The Tigers will look for their first conference sweep of the season and first since posting back-to-back sweeps of UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside to begin conference action during the 2007 season when they take on the Gauchos in game three of the series on Sunday, May 9. The final game of the series is scheduled to begin at 12:00 pm.