Slugfest At Simoni Leaves The Tigers And 49ers Even After The Day's Doubleheader
On a day full of power and seventh inning comebacks it was only fitting that the past two Big West champions would need extra-innings in both ends of a doubleheader to decide the victor on Saturday, April 14. In a slugfest in game one, the 49ers overpowered the Tigers, 7-6, in eight innings to take the opening contest while Pacific responded with a 5-4, nine inning, victory in game two to even the day. With the split the Tigers moved to 24-20 overall and 9-4 in the Big West while the 49ers stayed a half a game ahead in the standings at 9-3 in conference play and 27-16 overall.
Game 1: Long Beach State 7 - Pacific 6 (8 inn.)
Kicking off their three-game series at Bill Simoni Field, both teams remembered to eat their Wheeties prior to coming to the field as the two teams combined for seven home runs and 13 runs in a game that played past regulation. Falling behind early, the Tigers saw the 49ers jump out to a four-run lead on two big swings of the bat as Long Beach State broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run in the third before creating seperation with a three-run shot an inning later.
Down four, the Tigers started their comeback efforts in the bottom half of the fourth when junior Taylor Petty answered the Long Beach State home runs with a blast to left field to begin the inning. The Tiger junior's home run came on a 1-1 pitch as she posted her fourth home run of the season and second at home.
With one run across, Pacific again struck in the bottom of the fifth with a pair of runs to climb within one run of the 49ers at 4-3. Sending eight Tigers to the plate, Pacific broke through using small ball when senior Megan Hom and junior Megan Foglesong each beat out a pair of bunts to set the table while a bout of wildness from the 49ers' Erin Jones-Wesley helped drop the crooked number. Taking the easy RBI with a walk, Petty put the first run on the board for the Tigers in the inning while a sacrifice fly from senior Megan Allen completed the inning.
Despite holding the momentum from three unanswered runs, the Tigers would quickly fall back behind by three runs when the 49ers struck for their third home run of the afternoon with two-outs in the sixth. With one on and facing a 2-1 count, Ashley Jones lifted a misplaced Tiger pitch over the left field wall for her second home run of the contest. Jones had begun the scoring with the solo shot in the third that was just the opening to the slugfest that would ensue.
Trailing by three and facing their final three outs of the game, Pacific found a way to rally once again against Jones-Wesley as the Tigers blasted a pair of home runs to send the game into extra-innings. Starting the inning off, senior Amy Moore worked the count full before slamming a 3-2 pitch over the left field fence for her first home run of the season. After a single by the suddenly hot Petty brought the tying run to the plate, senior Megan Allen got in on the fun as she knotted the contest at 6-6 with a two-run home run over the right-center field fence, her second of the year.
For the Tigers, the excitement of the comeback would come to a screeching halt on the first pitch of the eighth inning when the 49ers' Karli Sandoval blasted the opening pitch of the extra-frame to left-center to put Pacific behind once again. The solo home run by Sandoval would prove to be the game-winning strike for Long Beach State as Pacific's luck ran out in the bottom half of the inning as a potential game-tying chop down the third base line instead turned into a game-ending double play.
In the circle, Jones-Wesley (14-6) survived to take the victory as the junior threw 7.0 innings for the 49ers while giving up seven hits and six runs. She also struck out five, but walked eight. In relief, Amanda Hansen (3) grabbed the save as she pitched the final inning for Long Beach State. For the Tigers, freshman Carly Mortensen carried the no-decision as the Tigers' starter pitched 5.0 innings while giving up six hits and four runs. In relief, junior Tori Shepard (6-5) suffered the loss in 3.0 innings of work as she gave up three hits and three runs.
Game 2: Pacific 5 - Long Beach State 4 (9 inn.)
In a game that, while lacking the sheer overwhelming number of home runs, still came down to power at the plate as Pacific came back from three down in the seventh to once again force extra-innings. Down to their last out and facing their first series loss of the season, junior Taylor Petty took matters into her own hands and delivered a mammoth, game-saving, blast to left field that left the 49ers stunned for the second-straight game.
Petty's second home run of the day and team-best fifth of the season was set up by a pair of walks to junior Megan Foglesong and senior Nikki Armagost. The duo would be right in the middle of the Tigers' game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth as Pacific's top of the order delivered the win. After shutting the 49ers down for two extra frames, the Tigers used a pair of hits out of senior Megan Hom and Foglesong to put the game-winning run in scoring position before Armagost bunted the duo over to put the winning run just 60-feet from home.
After being robbed in game one from the game-tying RBI in the eighth, senior Amy Moore made sure she would not be denied a second time as the catcher just missed her second home run of the day with a deep fly ball to left that hit the base of the wall for the game-winning RBI single.
For the Tigers, the late game rally was needed once again after the 49ers blasted their way to the lead midway through the contest. Breaking a scoreless time with one swing of the bat, Nalani St. Germain put the 49ers up 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning when she sent her second home run of the day sailing over the left field fence. The 49ers would tack on two more unearned runs in the fifth and sixth innings of play, but they would get no more as they were shut down by Armagost in the circle.
The senior in the circle earned the win for the Tigers by going all 9.0 innings in the game despite giving up 12 hits to the 49ers. When it mattered most, Armagost was at her best as she pitched around a pair of doubles in both the eighth and ninth innings of play to keep her team alive.
Offensively, the Tigers were led by Hom who posted three hits in the game to finish the afternoon with six hits and two walks in 10 trips to the plate. Behind Hom's six hits, Foglesong ended with five four hits in just five official at bats to go along with two walks and three sacrifice bunts. Petty's power show led to two home runs in her four hits on the day while also leading to a team-best five RBI.
The two teams will meet in a rubber-game on Sunday, April 14 at 12:00 pm. In the contest the Tigers will wear Pink in support of Breast Health Awareness in their annual Pacific Plays Pink contest.