Pacific Completes A Perfect Day Two With A 5-2 Win Over Syracuse
Riding high from its big win earlier in the day, the Pacific softball team kept its winning ways rolling in its night cap of the Cathedral City Classic with a 5-2 victory over Syracuse on Friday, February 24. The win was the second of the day for the Tigers and third of the tournament as Pacific moved to 5-6 overall on the year. The win avenged a tough 4-0 loss to the Orange in Gainesville, Fla. from a season ago in the teams' first-ever meeting.
Just as they did earlier in the day, the Tigers jumped on their opposition early and never let up en route to their win. After working through a big jam in the top half of the first, the Tigers went to the plate and put the Orange behind for good in the bottom half of the inning with the only crooked number of the night. Sending eight Tigers to the plate in the inning, Pacific posted a three spot behind four hits and a walk.
Junior Megan Hom got the Tigers started in the inning with a perfectly placed bunt to the pitcher that the speedy center fielder easily beat out for her first of two hits on the night. With Hom aboard, the Tigers would load the bases against the Orange as junior Nikki Armagost beat out an infield single while senior Nicole Matson worked her first of two walks in the game. With Tigers at every base, Pacific posted its first run of the inning on a bloop single just over the head of Syracuse's second baseman by junior Amy Moore. A batter later, sophomore Taylor Petty continued her stellar showing in the desert with an RBI single through the left side. Finally, sophomore Megan Foglesong, who returned to the team earlier in the day after a bout with the flu, drove home what would go down as the game-winning RBI with a ground ball to the right side to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
In the second, the Tigers would tack on a fourth run as junior Megan Allen came around to score on a single by sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez after reaching base via being struck by an errant Orange pitch.
Syracuse would cut the Tigers lead to just two runs over the next three innings when Lisaira Daniels put her team on her back and tried to mount a comeback almost single handedly. In the third, Daniels led off the inning with a first pitch solo home run to get the Orange on the board while in the fifth, her heads up base running was the catalyst to their second run.
Despite seeing their lead cut in half, the Tigers were undaunted, responding quickly and efficiently to put Syracuse away. Not to be outdone by Daniels shot in the third, Matson picked up her own four-bagger in the bottom of the fifth to give the Tigers' their fifth run of the game and a little breathing room from the Orange's attempted rally. The scorched line drive home run to left center was Matson's 26th career home run, pushing the fifth-year senior to within one of the program's No. 2 spot on the all-time list.
In the circle, Armagost started the contest for the Tigers looking to pick up her second win of the weekend. However, the junior would only go 4.1 innings in the contest before giving way to sophomore Tori Shepard in the fifth with runners aboard. In relief, Shepard shut down the Orange's advances and slammed the door on any comeback thoughts to pick up her second win of the season. In 2.2 innings of work, Shepard gave up just one hit and walked two while striking out one. For Armagost, the no decision came after giving up four hits but also walking five in her second appearance of the tournament. For both pitchers, the Tigers' defense was in top form especially the left side of the infield of Matson and Allen that came up big when needed most to keep the Orange off the scoreboard.
Stacy Kuwik suffered the loss for the Orange to fall to 1-2 on the year as the Tigers knocked around Syracuse's starter to the tune of seven hits and five runs in five full innings of work.
The Tigers will look to finish their stay in Cathedral City on a high note as they attempt to knock off another top-25 opponent in No. 14 Texas A&M on Saturday, February 25. The two teams will meet at 9:30 am.