Tempe, Ariz. - Finding themselves in an unexpected slugfest, the Tigers' bats came out on top as Pacific took home a 7-6 win over Creighton at the start of the Diamond Devil Invitational on Friday, March 9. The win moved the Tigers to 11-8 on the year while the Blue Jays fell to 8-9 overall. The game was the first of the tournament for the Tigers as they moved to 1-0 while Creighton fell to 0-2 on the day.
Looking like the Tigers of old, Pacific's offense took flight against the Blue Jays to knock out 10 hits and seven runs en route to the victory. The Tigers threatened, or scored in, all but one of the seven innings of action in the game to lead the way for their young freshman in the circle.
Taking their first lead in the second inning of play, the Tigers got their day rolling with a leadoff walk to junior Amy Moore. The walk to Moore kick started a perfect game at the plate for the junior as she would reach base all four times to the plate as she added three singles to her game resume. With Moore aboard, the Tigers moved their catcher to second with a sacrifice bunt before seeing her move an additional 60 feet on a wild pitch to set up the score. Wasting no time getting the job done for the Tigers, senior Alexa Rivera slapped a single back up the middle to bring Moore home and get Pacific on the board.
Up one, Pacific would give the run back in the bottom half of the inning as the Blue Jays turned their own leadoff walk into a score with a sacrifice and a double to left center.
Back to square one, the Tigers took back the lead in the top of the third as the top of the order rallied with two outs to do all of Pacific's damage. Starting at the top, junior Megan Hom and sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez smacked singles onto the outfield grass to set the table for the middle of the order. From there, junior Nikki Armagost did the heavy lifting for the Tigers as the Andover, Kan. native launched her first home run of the season with a mighty swing to center field. The home run was the first of the year and seventh career round-tripper for the junior.
Back out front, the Tigers quickly found the game tied once again as the Blue Jays had a two-out answer of their own by the name of Amy Baker. Just as Pacific had done in the top half of the inning, the Blue Jays used singles by the top two in their order to set the table before Baker cleared it with a home run to left.
Again starring at a tie game on the board, the Tigers went back to work in the top of the fourth, tagging Creighton for three more runs as they sent all nine batters to the plate in the inning. The big hits in the inning came from Rodriguez and Moore who each picked up RBI singles in the inning while Rivera came up with an RBI walk to finish the scoring.
Up by three, the Tigers would be forced to sweat out the win against the Blue Jays as Creighton came up with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the fifth after Baker left the yard for the second-consecutive at bat. Despite the sudden momentum shifter going to the Blue Jays, the Tigers were able to regroup and slam the door on any comeback hopes as Pacific went to its shutdown closer in sophomore Tori Shepard. Throwing the final two innings of action, Shepard closed out the contest in impressive fashion, retiring the heart of the Blue Jay order with a pair of runners on base to pick up her fifth save of the season. Shepard sits just one save shy of the Tigers' single-season record of six saves, held by all-time great Cindy Ball (1999-2002).
Offensively, the Tigers picked up multi-hit games out of Rodriguez, Moore and Rivera with Moore leading the way with three hits. For Rivera, the senior picked up a pair of RBI while the big run producer proved to be Armagost with three on the day.
In the circle, freshman Dani Bonnet picked up her team-best fifth win on the season as she threw five complete innings while giving up seen hits and six runs. The freshman added four strike outs to just one walk in the winning effort.
Pacific is back in action later in the day against East Carolina.