Pacific Softball: Tigers Outslug Highlanders For A Friday Doubleheader Sweep
Finding themselves in a slugfest, the Pacific softball team picked up timely home runs from sophomore Amy Moore and junior Nicole Matson to sweep a doubleheader from UC Riverside on Friday, April 22. Pacific picked up 8-5 and 7-3 victories over the Highlanders as the Tigers improved to 29-15 overall and 8-3 in the Big West while UC Riverside fell to 10-26 on the year and 3-8 in the conference.
Looking to keep pace at the top of the Big West standings, the Tigers picked up an important doubleheader sweep of the Highlanders at home at Bill Simoni Field. Clutch hitting was the name of the game for the Tigers throughout the day as Pacific picked up 22 combined hits to score 15 combined runs while coming from behind twice.
After giving up a single run in the top of the fourth inning on the second trip through the Highlanders' lineup, the Tigers were unfazed as they proceeded to break through themselves with four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Taking advantage of sloppy play in the field, Pacific scored all four runs after the inning should have been over, taking their first lead of the early session. In the inning the Tigers picked up singles from Armagost, senior Lindsey Pierce and freshman Taylor Petty, with the last two plating three of Pacific's four runs. Freshman Kelsey Rodriguez grabbed the first RBI of the inning with a sacrifice fly to center that scored Armagost.
Despite the grabbing the lead, the Tigers would give back all four runs they had taken in the fourth just an inning later as the Highlanders posted a four spot of their own in the top of the fifth. A mental mistake by the Tigers in the inning allowed the Highlanders an extra chance to score, one they would not let pass. After giving up a run on a sacrifice fly, Armagost made her only big mistake of the day as she left a pitch over the heart of the plate that Brooke Hebenton pulled over the left field wall for a three-run home run.
Not to be outdone, the Tigers immediately responded in the bottom half of the inning with a shot of their own as Moore blasted her fifth home run of the season with Armagost on board. Armagost had reached on a one-out double early in the inning, one of nine doubles for the Tigers on the day. The Tigers would tack on two more insurance runs in the sixth to push their final total to eight runs. The runs came from sophomore Megan Hom, who, after struggling in her first three at bats, roped a double to left-center to bring home Pierce and Petty.
With game one under their belts, the Tigers found themselves playing catchup once again in game two as the Highlanders got the scoring starting in the third with a pair of solo home runs. Both Kayla White and Brittany Keeney took freshman Tori Shepard deep in the inning as UC Riverside found a power surge that had eluded them throughout the season.
Once again, the Tigers would not be outdone as this time it was Matson who answered with a shot of her own, crushing a three-run home run to right-center that gave Pacific a lead they would not give back. The home run was the junior's 22nd career home run and ninth of the season while the RBIs were her 100th, 101st and 102nd of her career. Matson became just the sixth player in Pacific program history to reach the century mark in RBI and now has 37 for the season.
Following Matson, a one-out walk and a wild pitch put Armagost into scoring position where she would score the fourth and final run of the inning on a single up the middle by Moore.
With four across, Pacific would give one back in the top of the fourth when Jessica Vasser launched the Highlanders' third solo home run of the game, pushing Shepard from the game. In relief, Armagost would give up just two more hits in four innings of relief to earn her second win of the day.
The Tigers added single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to insure the victory for Armagost as Pacific used five extra-base hits to pick up their runs. Hom, who had singled in the third to start Pacific's big inning, finished just a home run shy of the cycle as she tripled in the fourth and scored a run while doubling in the fifth. Her double in the fifth was nearly a second triple as the sophomore was thrown out at third on a perfect throw by White in center field.
Pacific picked up multi-hit games from five different player in game two with their top four hitters all recording at least two hits while Hom led the way with a 3-for-4 game. Matson's three RBI led Pacific in the game while Hom tied the slugger for the day's lead. Armagost drove in two to bring her season total to 37, tying Matson for the conference's lead.
In the circle, Armagost went 11 innings in the two contests to improve to 15-9 on the year. The sophomore gave up five runs on eight hits while striking out eight and walking five. Shepard picked up a no=decision in game two as she lasted three innings while giving up five hits and three runs.
Pacific will look for the series sweep of the Highlanders on Saturday, April 23, when the two teams square off for the third and final time at Bill Simoni Field. The game is scheduled for 12:00 pm.