Near Miss As Tigers Fall Late To No. 3 Washington, 5-4

#38 Alexa Rivera - Photo by: Sal Rivera
#38 Alexa Rivera - Photo by: Sal Rivera

Stockton, Calif. - Taking on their highest ranked opponent of the season to date, the Pacific softball team just missed out on the upset of No. 3 Washington on Saturday, March 3, as the Tigers fell 5-4 on day two of the Louisville Slugger Invitational.  The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Tigers and dropped the home team to 8-7 on the year while the Huskies improved to 17-1 on the year and remained perfect at the tournament at 3-0 through round-robin play.

In a back and forth battle, the Tigers suffered the tough loss to the Huskies in a brutal fashion as an error in the top of the seventh inning proved to be the difference in the game.  With a runner at third and two outs, freshman Dani Bonnet, who fell to 3-2 with the decision loss, induced what should have been an inning-ending pop up to second, only to see it catch the sun and fall to the ground off a Tiger glove.  The run would prove to be enough for the Huskies to hold onto the vicory as Katilin Inglesby got through the top of the Tigers' order in the bottom half of the inning to pick up her 10th win of the season.

Prior to the fateful seventh inning the two teams traded shots with each team answering the other at every turn.

First, the Tigers took the initial lead in the game as Pacific pushed across a single run in the bottom of the second inning.  After picking up a leadoff single by the hotest hitter in the Tigers' lineup, senior Nicole Matson, Pacific manufactured its first run by moving her intto scoring position with a pair of ground balls to set up the score.  With Matson 60 feet from pay dirt, sophomore Megan Foglesong came through with a single up the middle to begin the scoring.

Pacific's lead would be short lived as the Huskies immediately answered with a pair of runs in the top of the third as the middle of the order took advantage of timely hitting and a defensive miscue in the field to net their runs.  Up 2-1, the Huskies made it a two run contest in the top of the fourth inning when Nikki Williams doubled home Victoria Hayward, who had reached on a one-out single earlier in the inning.

Trailing 3-1, Pacific got right back into the contest in the bottom half of the inning when the Tigers' dented the plate twice to knot the game at 3-3.  After picking up a pair of free passes to start the inning, the Tigers moved Matson and junior Amy Moore into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt to set the stage for senior Alexa Rivera.  With two outs and two runs sitting out on the bases waiting to come home, Rivera laced a single right back up the middle to bring home Matson and sophomore Gabby Goyette, who had entered the game to run for Moore.

With the game back to even, the Huskies jumped back out front just three pitches into the new inning when Kylee Lahners welcomed Bonnet into the game by sending a 2-0 pitch over the left field.  The home run was the third of the weekend for Lahners and gave the Huskies back the 4-3 lead.

Down one, the Tigers would get back one of the two runs gifted to the Huskies in the bottom of the sixth inning when a throwing error on a potential double play turned into a run for Pacific.

For the game, the Tigers had four different players pick up a hit against Inglesby who improved to 10-0 on the year.  Rivera led the way with two RBI while Matson picked a pair of runs.  For the Huskies, Hayward and Jerrin Fa'asua each posted two hits in the game while three different player picked up RBI.

In the circle, sophomore Nikki Armagost took the no decision after leaving with the game tied after four innings.  She gave up five hits and three runs, two earned in her stint in the game while Bonnet suffered the tough-luck loss despite giving up just two hits in three innings pitched.