Sweep Lands Pacific In Sole Possession Of First
Just three weeks into Big West play, the defending champion Tigers find themselves back at the top of the standings after sweeping Cal State Fullerton with a 10-5 win on Sunday, April 15. The win for the Tigers improved their record to 28-14 overall and 7-2 in the Big West while the Titans fell to 16-21 overall and 4-5 in conference play. The sweep was the second straight for the Tigers in Big West play after taking three games from UC Riverside on the road the week prior.
Picking up where they left off from the day before, the Tigers' offense came out firing once again as Pacific posted 13 hits and scored 10 runs to earn the three-game sweep of the Titans. Kick starting the day in their first at bat, the Tigers tallied four runs in the bottom of the first inning to put the Titans on their heels. Beginning with senior Alexa Rivera the Tigers strung together four-straight singles to post their first run of the game and load the bases for the first time in the contest. The initial RBI of the game came from junior Nikki Armagost who picked up the third of the four singles for Pacific. After senior Nicole Matson singled to load the bases, Pacific got the big hit in the inning from sophomore Taylor Petty who drove a double off the fence in left-center to plate all three Tigers on bases.
For Pacific, the four runs was just a beginning as they poured on the offense late to put the Titans away. However, early, the Titans had an answer for the Tigers initial onslaught as Cal State Fullerton picked up a four-run inning of their own in the top of the third when the top of the order broke through against sophomoreTori Shepard. Using an infield single and a bloop to center, the Titans picked up their first hits of the day off the sophomore and set up a two-out rally that would culminate with a grand slam off the bat of Anissa Young. The big fly came on a 3-1 pitch as Shepard fell behind the Titans' cleanup hitter and got caught trying to throw a get-me-over strike down the heart of the plate.
Despite the damage in the third, Shepard and the Tigers would not be fazed as Pacific's offense immediately picked up their sophomore hurler in the bottom half of the inning by taking back the lead with a single run. With sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez at third and two-outs in the inning, junior Amy Moore delivered the go-ahead single to right-center that put Pacific up 5-4.
From there, the Tigers buried the Titans as they scored three in the fourth and two more in the sixth to hit the 10-run mark for the first time in the weekend. In the fourth, the heart of the order delivered the damage for the Tigers as Armagost singled home a pair of runs with the bases loaded before Matson slashed a single to center to bring home the final run of the inning. An inning later, Pacific flexed its muscles as Petty and juniorMegan Hom each hit solo shots to give the Tigers their ninth and 10th runs of the day. For both Petty and Hom, the home runs were their second of the season and second of their careers.
In all, the Tigers saw 7-of-9 starters record hits in the contest with Hom, Armagost, Matson and Petty each going for at least two hits. Armagost finished her day 4-for-4 at the plate as she singled in all four trips up while driving in three. She ended her weekend 7-for-10 with six RBI and four runs scored. For Petty, her big day finished at 2-for-3 with a second four-RBI performance. Her four RBI tied the career-high she set in the first game of the weekend against the Titans as the sophomore finished the weekend 6-for-9 with eight RBI.
In the circle, Shepard picked up the complete game victory to improve to 10-4 on the year. She gave up five runs in the game after giving up a single run in the seventh and eight hits while striking out four and walking just one. Only Ashley Carter recorded multiple hits in the contest against Shepard as she tripled to leadoff the seventh and came in to score her second run of the afternoon against the sophomore.
Pacific will look to keep its six-game conference winning streak going on Saturday, April 21 when the Tigers travel to Santa Barbara, Calif. to take on the Gauchos. The first game of the opening doubleheader is scheduled for 12:00 pm.