Pacific Suffers A Setback, Falls 3-2 to BYU
Looking to keep their momentum going from their early victory, the Pacific softball team could not overcome the many obstacles thrown in their way against BYU, falling 3-2 on Thursday, February 23. The loss dropped the Tigers to 3-6 on the year and 1-1 at the tournament while the Cougars improved to 8-4 overall and 1-1 at the Cathedral City Classic.
Facing difficulties outside of their control for much of the afternoon, the Tigers battled through adversity to put victory within reach before falling just short of a perfect start to their tournament weekend. For the Tigers, the game started well as Pacific jumped out front of the Cougars in the first inning, scoring a single run in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.
Continuing her hot start to the 2012 season, junior Nikki Armagost came through with an RBI double down the right field line to plate junior Megan Hom from second to begin the scoring. Hom had reached on a single to start the game and moved into scoring position on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez, one of three perfect sacrifices in the contest.
Up one, the Tigers picked up a second run three innings later on the first career home run by sophomoreTaylor Petty. The Tigers new right fielder blasted a shot over the left field fence with one out in the bottom of the fourth, homering in her second at bat of the game after nearly missing one in her first trip to the plate in the second.
Despite carrying a 2-0 lead, the Tigers would see their perfect day begin to unravel in the top of the fifth inning when the Cougars mounted a rally to tie the game at two. After loading the bases with a pair of singles and a walk, the Cougars plated their first run on a ground ball to short, which was bobbled by the Tigers' defensively before throwing to first. On the throw that should have ended the inning, the Cougars got a controversial call to go their way, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue. One batter later, the Cougars took advantage of their extended rally with a bloop single to left, plating the second unearned run of the inning and knotting the game at two.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Tigers attempted to regain their advantage over BYU, loading the bases for junior Amy Moore, only to see a lined shot in the hole snagged on a dive by the Cougars' starting third baseman. The line drive doubled up Hom as third and sent Pacific to the field empty handed.
With their own chances dashed in the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers saw the Cougars continue their comeback in the top of the sixth, scoring what would be the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly after once again loading the bases on a pair of hits and a walk.
Trying to battle back, the Tigers mounted a charge in the bottom of the sixth, only to find themselves on the wrong end of another highly controversial call. With Petty at second after a single and a sacrifice, the Tigers sent freshman Kamalei Pitoy to the plate as a pinch hitter for the first time in her collegiate career. Unfazed the freshman came through with a bloop single to left-center field for what should have been the game-tying score. However, a slight hesitation at second and a swipe tag at the plate later, Petty was called out, ending the Tigers threat and with it, essentially, the game.
The Tigers saw three players pick up multiple hits as Armagost, Hom and Petty while five Cougars accomplished the feat. In the circle, sophomore Tori Shepard found herself snake bitten for the second straight start, as the Lodi native suffered her second straight loss despite giving up just one earned run. In 5.1 innings of work, Shepard gave up eight hits and walked five before leaving with one on in the sixth, only to see the Cougars pull off a comeback for the win. In relief, freshman Dani Bonnet, who entered in the sixth, went 1.2 innings and gave up three hits and walked one.
Pacific will look to get back on track on Friday, February 24 when the team takes on Iowa State on day two of the Cathedral City Classic. The game is scheduled for 3:00 pm from the Big League Dreams Complex.