Pacific Softball: 5-3 Win Over Gardner-Webb Puts Pacific Off On The Right Foot In Florida
Opening play at the Lipton Invitational in Gainesville, Fla., the Pacific softball team kicked off the tournament with a 5-3 win over Gardner-Webb on Friday, March 4. The win moved the Tigers overall record to 8-3 while the Running Bulldogs fell to 3-8.
Looking to get out to a fast start, the Tigers put together their biggest inning of the day in the bottom of the first inning, jumping on the Bulldogs for four runs, a total which would be enough for the game. In the inning, Pacific sent 10 batters to the plate and loaded the bases two separate times to do their damage.
After putting Tigers at every base with just one out in the inning, sophomoreNikki Armagostgot Pacific on the board for the first time in the inning with a bloop single to left field that plated seniorLindsey Pierce. Pierce had led the inning off by reaching base on an error and was advanced to third on a single by sophomoreMegan Homand a walk two batters later to juniorNicole Matson. With the first run home the Tigers struck again with an RBI single to center by sophomoreAmy Moorewho punched home her team-leading 12 run of the season. The total matched her season total from her inaugural season in 2010.
Continuing the inning, sophomoreMegan Allenpicked up her first of two RBI on the day as she lifted a sacrifice fly to center that was deep enough to allow Matson to score from third. Keeping the inning going, sophomoreAmanda Collierbrought home the fourth and final run of the inning as Pacific's designated player singled up the middle to score Armagost. The hit was the first of the season for the sophomore. Pacific would loaded the bases again on another Bulldog error, but would strand three on-base, a theme that would play out the rest of the game for the Tigers.
With a chance to blow the game wide open in the first, the Tigers had a second chance in the bottom of the second as they loaded the bases for the second straight inning, only to come away empty handed. In the third Pacific loaded the bases with two outs in the inning, but a hard line drive to center off the bat of Matson was snared by the Bulldogs center fielder to keep Gardner-Webb within striking distance. Overall the Tigers would leave 11 runners on-base through six innings of action, however Pacific would add an insurance run in the fourth on Allen's first hit of the contest which plated Armagost from second.
The insurance run would prove to be unneeded for Pacific's starter,Shaina Brock, as the senior picked up her third win of the season in the circle for the Tigers. Against the Bulldog bats, Brock got into just two jams, however, one would cost the Tigers three runs as the Bulldogs posted a crooked number on the board in the top of the fourth inning as they struck for their first two hits of the game against Brock. The big hit in the inning would be the two-RBI double to left-center by Lindsea Hutchinson.
After relinquishing the three runs in the fourth, Brock would get through the next two innings unscathed before finding herself in a second jam in the seventh when the Bulldogs put the first two batters of the inning on base with singles. Called to the circle to save the game for Brock, freshmanTori Shepardtook just three batters to quell the potential rally as she mowed down the top-three hitters for the Bulldogs to pick up the save. The save was the first of Shepard's career and first of the season for the Tigers. In all, Shepard picked up one strike out in her one inning pitched. For Brock, the senior threw six innings while giving up five hits and three runs while walking three.
For the Bulldogs, Jessica Childers suffered the loss as she went six innings while giving up eight hits and five runs, two of which were earned after the Bulldog defense committed five errors in the contest. She also struck out four and walked three.
Pacific will be back in action later in the day against Syracuse as the two teams meet in the night cap of day one of the Lipton Invitational. The game is scheduled for 4:45 pm PST, but will likely start late due to the tournament running behind.