Stockton, Calif. - For the first time since the 2010 season the Pacific softball team suffered a series loss in Big West Conference play as the Tigers dropped the third and deciding game to Cal State Northridge (CSUN), 5-4, on Monday, April 2. Pacific's loss came by a single run for the second day in a row as the Tigers fell to 21-13 overall and 1-2 in Big West play while the Matadors improved to 7-24 on the year and 2-1 in the Big West.
From the outset, the Tigers found themselves trying to dig out of a hole that proved to be too big to get out of. Playing from behind throughout the entire game, Pacific found themselves immediately trailing the upset minded Matadors as CSUN jumped out in front 4-0 before the Tigers could catch their breath. In the first, the Matadors jumped on the Tigers behind three hits, the first of which came in the form of a leadoff home run by Madeline Sale on the second pitch of the game, combined with mental mistakes by the Tigers in the field to score three early runs. In the second, the Matadors tacked on a fourth run with three-straight singles by the top of the order to run Pacific's starter, freshman Dani Bonnet, from the game after just two innings.
Down 4-0, the Tigers attempted to begin a comeback in the bottom of the second inning when Pacific's 5-6-7 combined to nail a two spot to the board with three-consecutive hits. The final two hits of the three-hit string came as back-to-back doubles by senior Alexa Rivera and junior Amy Moore with the final double driving in the pair of runs.
In the third, Pacific tacked on a single run on a RBI ground out by senior Nicole Matson after the Tigers picked up singles by juniors Megan Hom and Nikki Armagost. Despite the sudden shift in momentum, the Tigers would be unable to climb over the final obstacle over the next three innings as CSUN's Mia Pagano allowed just one Tiger to reach base via a hit by pitch in the sixth inning. Unable to get over the final hump, the Tigers saw their chances for a last inning comeback grow ever slimmer in the top of the seventh inning when Jaci Carlsen tomahawked a 0-2 pitch over the left field fence to put the Matadors up 5-3.
Carlsen's run would prove to be the difference in the ballgame as the Tigers were able to score only one run in the bottom of the seventh. A leadoff double by Moore turned into the fourth run of the game when sophmore Taylor Petty, pinch hitting in the contest, laced a single through the left side of the infield to bring home the final run of the day for the Tigers. Pacific would strand the tying run at first as Pagano was able to pitch her way past the top of the Tigers' order.
In the circle, Bonnet suffered her first loss of the year to a team outside of the top-10 as she fell to 6-5 on the season. The freshman went just two innings and gave up six hits, four runs and walked one. In relief, sophomore Tori Shepard threw five innings and gave up four hits and just one run while striking out two and walking one as she pitched for the sixth consecutive game.
Their counterpart, Pagano, continued her dominance over the Tigers as she picked up her third straight win over Pacific dating back to last season. The Matador hurler went all seven for the second straight time on the weekend as she gave up seven hits and four runs to improve to 6-11 on the year.
Offensively, Moore was the lone Tiger to record mulitple hits on the day as she picked up a pair of doubles and two RBI. For the Matadors, Sale ended her day 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI while Carlsen led the way with a pair of RBI.
The Tigers will look to shake off the opening series loss and get back on track on Friday, April 6 when they head to UC Riverside to take on the Highlanders. The opening doubleheader is scheduled for 1:00 pm.