Stockton, Calif. - Ending play at the 2012 Libby Matson Tournament, the Pacific softball team split a pair with Saint Mary's on Sunday, March 25. The Gaels took game one of the doubleheader, 3-1, before the Tigers stormed back with a 7-0 shutout victory in game two. The split moved the Tigers to 18-11 on the year while the Gaels moved to 11-6.
Under gloomy skies, the Tigers could not find the timely hits that came so easily throughout the rest of the weekend as Pacific had its chances to score throughout the morning but managed just one run. Scoring first in their first at bat, it was junior Nikki Armagost who came up with the run scoring hit as she laced a single through the right side of the infield to bring home junior Megan Hom. Hom had reached and moved to second on an error to start the game before moving to third on a bunt single by sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez.
After the first, the Tigers' offense sputtered as they were unable to come up with the big hit despite putting runners in scoring position in the second, third, fifth and sixth innings. The offensive struggle proved costly for Armagost, who also was the Tigers' starting pitcher for the game, as the junior gave up three late runs to suffer her third loss of the year. Unlike the Tigers, the Gaels found holes with seemingly every ball put into play no matter how hard or how weakly it was hit. Overall, Armagost, who moved to 6-3 on the year, gave up eight hits and walked two while striking out a season-high seven in the loss.
Shrugging off their struggles in game one and with the Sun breaking through the clouds, the Tigers came out blazing in game two of the day, racking up 11 hits and seven runs in support of their sophomore Tori Shepard. For Shepard, the seven runs of support would prove to be overkill as the sophomore capped off her stellar weekend in the circle with yet another gem as she threw her second complete game shutout to bookend the tournament.
Just as she did on Thursday night to begin play at the Libby Matson Tournament, Shepard was nearly unhittable as she gave up just two hits and walked two, facing just four batters over the minimum. The Gael's first hit of the day would not come until the fourth inning when Michelle Mounts hit a one-out single up the middle just past the outstretched glove of senior Alexa Rivera at second. The hit snapped a 12.1 inning stretch of no-hit ball for Shepard after she went seven innings worth of outs in the first game of the weekend before adding two innings of no-hit relief on Saturday.
With their sophomore once again on cruise control in the circle, the Tigers took advantage of big hits and poor defense by the Gaels to come up with their seven runs. In the first, Pacific plated three runs on just two hits as a pair of errors at short cost Saint Mary's the crooked number on the board. In the inning, Rodriguez and Armagost came up their the hits as Armagost roped a RBI double to right the plated Hom who had led the inning off by reaching on an error. After Armagost, senior Nicole Matson picked up her team-best 28th RBI on the year with a ground ball to short. A wild pitch gave the Tigers their third run of the inning.
After tacking on three in the first, the Tigers posted two more in the second when Hom, sophomore Megan Foglesong and Rodriguez tagged the Gaels for three straight one-out hits. Rodriguez picked up the lone extra base hit of the sequence as the sophomore doubled down the left field line in between singles by Hom and Foglesong. Finally, the Tigers closed out their scoring with two more runs in the bottom of the fourth as the top five in the order came through to put the game out of reach. Singles by Hom and Rodriguez set the table for Pacific in the inning while Armagost and Matson cleared it with back-to-back singles to each pick up their second RBIs of the game.
For the day, Hom and Rodriguez led the was as they duo each went 4-for-7 at the plate while scoring a combined six runs. Armagost was not far behind as the junior finished 3-for-7 with one run scored and three RBI.
Pacific will be back in action on Tuesday, March 27, when the team travels to Cal State Bakersfield for a final tuneup before Big West play begins. The two teams will meet in a non-conference doubleheader begin at 12:00 pm.