Pacific Softball: Pacific Cruises Past Valparaiso, 7-1
Rebounding from a loss the night before, the Pacific softball team cruised to a 7-1 win over Valparaiso on Saturday, March 5, to open their second day of play at the Lipton Invitational in Gainesville, Fla. Pacific got its bats going in the contest as the team posted 13 hits to do their damage and improve to 9-4 on the year while the Crusaders fell to 7-8.
A night after seeing their bats quieted, the Tigers needed just one inning to get into the groove against Valparaiso as Pacific struck first, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second inning to capture a lead it would not relinquish. Kick started by their sophomores, the Tigers would put a pair of runners on base to start the inning afterAmy Mooreblooped a single down the right field line beforeMegan Allenfollowed with an infield single of her own. The duo would move into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from freshmanKelsey Rodriguezwho laid a perfect bunt down the first base line. After Rodriguez did her job moving the runners up one base, freshmanTaylor Pettycame through in her first at bat of the day as she flared a single down the right field line to plate Moore.
After moving Petty to second with a groundout to the short left side, Pacific would plate both of its runners in scoring position with one big hit off the bat of sophomoreMegan Hom, who was making her second trip to the plate in as many innings. The sophomore center fielder dropped in a double to left field that easily scored both Allen and Petty to put the Tigers up three.
Missing a chance to break the open game in the third, the Tigers would tack on a fourth run in the bottom of the fourth inning as the top of Pacific's order combined for three straight one-out hits to score dent the plate and with it run the Crusaders' starter, Alex Lagesse from the game. After a pair of infield singles by seniorLindsey Pierceand Hom, freshmanMegan Foglesonglaced a single off the wall in left-center to bring home Pierce.
Pacific would give one run back in the top of the sixth before breaking open the game with three more runs in the bottom half of the inning to put the Crusaders away. Again, the top of the order did the damage for the Tigers as Pierce picked up a single to center before stealing second to put herself in scoring position. With Pierce on second and two-outs in the inning, Foglesong delivered once again, this time doubling down the left field line to plate the senior. Looking for more, juniorNicole Matsongave Pacific their its last two runs of the game with one swing as the first baseman crushed a home run over the scoreboard in left-center field to put the Tigers up 7-1. The home run was the second of the season for Matson and 15th of her career placing her into a tie for No. 7 all-time in program history with all-time great Brandee McArthur (1996-99).
With the offense delivering at the plate,Nikki Armagost(4-3) had more than enough support in the circle to pick up her fourth victory of the season as the sophomore held the Crusaders in check while pitching her way out of a few trouble spots. In both the first and the fifth Valparaiso put runners on second and third against Armagost only to be denied runs as the Andover, Kan. native clamped down to hold the Crusdaders off the board.
After pitching out of a pair of jams, Armagost found herself in trouble for the third time in the top of the sixth, the lone inning she would relinquish a run, as the Tigers' starter issued a pair of one-out walks and an infield single to load the bases. A ground ball to short would give the Tigers their second out of the inning but would also allow Valparaiso to break up the shutout bid. A lazy fly ball to left would end the inning and end any hope os a comeback for the Crusaders.
Overall, Armagost threw seven complete innings to pick up the win as she gave up six hits and one run while striking out four and walking four. Her counterpart, Lagesse (3-4), lasted just 3.1 innings in the loss as she was tagged for nine hits and four runs while striking out one and walking two. In relief, Amanda Bolton gave up four hits and three runs in 2.1 innings while Shaleigh Jansen recorded the final out of the game for the Crusaders in relief of Jansen.
For Pacific, five batters recorded a pair of hits in the contest as the each of the top-four batters; Pierce, Hom, Foglesong and Matson each picked up two while Allen picked up two as well in the seven hole for the Tigers. Additionally, Hom, Foglesong and Matson each recorded two RBI in the victory.