Stockton, Calif. - Breaking out their bats in a big way against Cal State Fullerton, the Pacific softball team took home a doubleheader sweep on Saturday, April 14. In game one, Pacific won 7-2 in seven innings while game two ended early as the Tigers grabbed a 9-0, five inning, victory to end the day. The wins improved the Tigers record to 27-14 and a Big West best 6-2 while the Titans fell to 16-20 on the year and 4-4 in conference play.
Just days after seeing their offense held in check by Santa Clara, the Tigers took out their frustrations on the visiting Titans by tallying 12 hits and scoring seven runs in the series opener to get their weekend off on the right foot.
Jumping out front in the second inning, the Tigers grabbed their first lead of the game with a single run in the frame as the bottom of the order produced the hits Pacific was looking for. After picking up an infield hit from senior Alexa Rivera, the Tigers tagged back-to-back doubles off the bats of sophomore Taylor Petty and junior Amy Moore to push the first run of the game across the board.
Up one, Pacific immediately relinquished its early advantage in the top of the third inning when the Titans took advantage of three straight hits to tie the game at one. Back to square one, Pacific went to work in the bottom half of the inning and took back the lead with their first crooked number of the day. Beginning with junior Nikki Armagost, the Tigers strung together four-consecutive singles through the heart of the order to post a pair of runs and take a 3-1 lead. The final hit came off the bat of Petty who tallied the first two of her career-high four RBI in the game.
Pacific would again give one run back in the top of the fifth inning when the Titans mounted a two-out rally against Armagost in the circle, scoring their second run of the game on a bases loaded single to right by Anissa Young. However, on the play, the Titans attempted to score the tying run from second only to see Petty cut down the final threat at the plate with a perfect throw to Moore at home.
The momentum of the big defensive play carried over for Petty into the bottom half of the inning as the sophomore tacked up her third and fourth RBIs with a single to right with runners at second and third. Prior to Petty's third hit of the day, seniors Nicole Matson and Rivera got the inning started with a single and a double, respectively. After singling and advancing all the way to third on the throw home and an error, Petty would score the third run of the inning on a ground ball to short from Moore.
Up 6-2, the Tigers tacked on a seventh and final run in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI single by Matson as the senior finished her game 3-for-4 at dish. The seven runs would be more than enough for Armagost to secure the complete game victory in the circle for the Tigers as the junior improved to 9-5 on the year and 2-1 in the Big West. In all, Armagost gave up just two runs and seven hits while striking out two and walking two others.
Still riding high from their opening game victory, the Tigers made quick work of the Titans in the second game of the day as Pacific used 10 more hits to score nine runs and end the afternoon after just five innings of action. Pacific took advantage of two big innings to do its damage in the contest as the Tigers scored three runs in the first before finishing off the Titans with a six run fourth inning.
In the first, the Tigers got all of the offense they would need from the middle of the order as Armagost and Matson produced the three runs after the top three in the order put themselves on base. After a leadoff single by junior Megan Hom, Pacific moved the speedster to third with a sacrifice bunt and a single to center from sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez. From there, Armagost dropped a single on the grass in right to bring Hom in to score what would go down as the game-winning run. On the play, a wide turn by Armagost got the Tigers into a jam on the base paths that eventually resulted in Rodriguez being tagged out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Despite the loss of a runner, the Tigers immediately recovered when Matson tattooed a 1-2 pitch over the left field fence, sending a line shot 250 feet to put Pacific up 3-0. The home run was the 12th of the season for the slugger, tying her for the second most in a single season by any Pacific player.
Up three, Pacific put the game to bed in the fourth when six Tigers crossed the plate after 11 came up to bat. For the Tigers, the inning came together with help from the Titans as an error with the bases loaded opened the flood gate for Pacific as all six runs went unearned. After loading the bases with a pair of walks and a single by Hom, the Tigers caught their big break on a ground ball to third that could have been turned into an inning-ending double play, but instead was thrown away resulting in a pair of runs. With two outs, Armagost roped a double down the right-field line, bringing home two more runs with her second and third RBIs of the game. After a four pitch walk to Matson and an infield single by Petty loaded the bases for the second time in the inning, Moore delivered the final blow to the Titans with a two-RBI single to right that gave Pacific all the runs it would need to end the game early.
With the support of her offense, freshman Dani Bonnet earned the win for the Tigers in the circle as the young hurler tossed five complete shutout innings to earn the win. Improving to 9-5 on the year and 2-1 in the conference, Bonnet gave up just four hits in her five innings of work while striking out two and hitting two batters. Her day was not without a little trouble as the Titans had a chance to get into the game early in the second inning as they loaded the bases with only one out in the inning. However, Bonnet worked her way out of the jam as she induced a ground ball and tossed her first strike out to end the threat.
In all, Matson led the way for the Tigers as the senior went 5-for-6 at the plate with three RBI and four runs scored. After just missing out on the bunt single to start her day, Matson went 5-for-5 over her next five at bats before walking in her last trip to the plate in game two. Behind Matson, Petty and Rivera each recorded four hits in six trips to the plate while Armagost and Moore combined for five hits and seven RBI.
Pacific will look for the three-game sweep of the Titans on Sunday, April 15 when they play the final game of the series at Bill Simoni Field. The game is scheduled for 12:00 pm.