Pacific Softball: Pacific Splits Day One In Florida With A 4-0 Loss To Syracuse
In a battle of a pair of teams looking to crack the top-25, the Pacific softball team suffered a tough 4-0 loss at the hands of Syracuse on Friday, March 4. The loss for the Tigers led to a split of the days action at the Lipton Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. and dropped their record to 8-4 on the year while the Orange improved to 13-3, their best start in program history.
One early mistake and one late run was the difference in the contest between Tigers and the Orange as Syracuse was able to put together just enough offense to hand sophomoreNikki Armagost(3-3) her third loss of the season. In the bottom of the second inning, the Orange would strike for their first run of the night on solo home run to dead center field by Kelly Saco. The Orange first baseman's home run came on a 2-2 pitch with two outs in the inning and was the first hit of the game for Syracuse.
Over the next three innings Armagost would scatter three more hits as the Orange picked up a trio of bloop singles just over the heads of the Tigers' infielders, but could do nothing with the base runners. However, all would change in the bottom of the sixth as Syracuse was able to break open the pitching duel with three runs in the inning on four hits, doubling twice after starting the inning off with a free pass to first when their leadoff hitter was struck by an inside pitch.
For Pacific, the rally was particularly distressing after the first run of the inning was scored on a double to left field that saw sophomoreMegan Allenmake a perfect throw home to cut down the runner trying to score from first, only to have the runner deemed to have avoided the tag at the plate and declared safe. With the first run home safely, Syracuse would tack on two more to take what would be the final 4-0 lead.
At the plate, the Tigers were not able to crack the Orange's pitching as Pacific was held to just one hit on the night, a single by freshmanMegan Foglesongin the top fo the first inning. Despite the one hit, the Tigers did have a few chances early against Syracuse starter Stacy Kuwik as she issued three walks in her four innings of work to give Pacific a few base runners. The Tigers would put a runner in scoring position in both the third and the fourth, advancing sophomoreAmy Moore, who walked twice in the contest, to third with two outs only to see her stranded 60 feet away from tying the game.
Kuwik would pick up the win for the Orange to improve to 4-1 as she gave up one hit in her four innings of work while adding three strike outs. She turned the ball over to Syracuse's ace in the top of the fifth as Jenna Caira shut the door on the Tigers over the final three innings of play as she struck out two while retiring all nine batters she faced.
For Armagost, the sophomore went 5.1 innings while giving up eight hits and four runs while striking out six and walking two. In relief, freshmanTori Shepardstruck out one and walked one in 0.2 innings. Offensively, Armagost would see her 26-game on-base streak come to an end as she went 0-for-3 in the contest after reaching base safely in Pacific's first 11 games while holding a 15-game streak to end the 2010 campaign.
The Tigers will look to get back on track during day two of the Lipton Invitational as they take on Valparaiso on Saturday, March 5. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:45 am PST.