Pacific Softball: Big First Inning Propels Pacific Past Santa Clara 11-1
Kicking off their own Libby Matson Tournament with a bang, the Pacific softball team blasted their way past the visiting Santa Clara Broncos, 11-1 (5 inn.) on Saturday, February 26. The win improved Pacific's record to 5-2 while the Broncos fell to 0-3.
Using a nine run first inning, the Tigers got off to the hot start they had hoped for in front of their home crowd for the first time in the 2011 season. Take their first hacks at the Bronco defense in the bottom of the first inning, the Tigers sent 15 batters to the plate in the inning. Even more impressively, Pacific saw 13 batters head to the plate while recording just one out during the run.
The early catalyst to the big inning for Pacific came from their discerning eye at the plate as the Tigers loaded the bases on three straight walks to start the game. With the heart of the order stepping to the plate the Tigers would actually strike for their first run of the morning on an illegal pitch, continuing the rocky start in the circle. With one run across, junior Nicole Matson and sophomore Nikki Armagost tacked on two more runs with the Tigers' first hits of the game, a pair of singles through the infield.
A wild pitch netted Pacific its fourth run of the inning before sophomore Amy Moore posted the biggest hit of the inning for the Tigers, a two-run shot over the left-center fence that pushed the lead to six. The home run was Moore's second of the season and first in the career home run in the confines of Bill Simoni Field.
Heading to the plate for the second time in the inning after three more free passes were issued in front of her, sophomore Megan Hom slashed a single to center field that would plate two more runs for the Tigers. Pacific would cap its huge inning with an unearned run after an the Broncos committed an error on a ground ball that should have ended the inning.
Looking for more, Pacific added its final two runs of the contest in the second inning when Moore and junior Alexa Rivera led the frame off with a single and a double to put runners into scoring position. The Tigers would score their runs on a pair of RBI ground outs, the first coming from freshman Kelsey Rodriguez while the second came from Hom as the Tigers' No. 2 hitter picked up her third RBI of the game.
In the circle, the Tigers got a strong showing out of Armagost who moved to 3-1 with the victory. Throwing just three innings in the run-rule shortened game, the sophomore from Andover, Kan. struck out six and allowed just three hits, two of which came in the first inning as the Broncos loaded the bases with one-out but could do no damage. In relief, sophomore Gabby McDaniel gave Pacific two innings of work, giving up two hits and the Tigers' only run to the Broncos. The run came off the bat of Kelly Scribner, who took a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall for a leadoff home run in the top of the fourth inning.
For the Broncos, Jessica Turner suffered the loss as she lasted just one-third of an inning while relinquishing three hits and eight runs. She also walked five to fall to 0-2 on the season.