Stockton, Calif. - Behind a pair of complete games and a pair of timely home runs, the Pacific softball team swept Cal Poly in the opening doubleheader of their Big West series on Saturday, April 28. The Tigers took game one 2-1 before capturing game two 3-2 on Saturday afternoon. The pair of wins kept the Tigers at the top of the standings in the Big West at 10-4 and 31-16 overall while the Mustangs fell to 4-10 in the conference 12-30 on the year.
The two wins clinched the series for the Tigers marking the first time since the 2004 season Pacific took a home series against the Mustangs. The series victory also marks the third series win for the Tigers of the season.
Getting back on track at home against the Mustangs, the Tigers used one big hit off the bat of senior Nicole Matson to take down Cal Poly and secure the opening game victory of the series. Down 1-0 after missing out of multiple chances throughout the first three innings of the contest, the Tigers finally got the timely hit they were looking for in the bottom of the fourth inning when Matson delivered the big fly for the Tigers with one runner aboard to put Pacific ahead to stay. Taking a 1-0 pitch the other way, Matson belted her conference-best 13th home run of the season over the right field fence with junior Nikki Armagost aboard to give Armagost the run support she would need to take home the victory.
The 13th home run of the season for Matson put the senior within four of Pacific's single-season record for round-trippers as the blast moved Matson to No. 2 in the single-season record books. Additionally, Matson moved within five of the all-time career home run record of 42 held by Jennifer Curtier (2004-07).
With two runs of support, Armagost made the most of what her offense gave her as the junior shut down the Mustang offense for seven strong innings. Armagost allowed just four hits in the game and one run while striking out four to pick up her 10th win of the season. The lone damage against Armagost came in the third inning when the Mustangs led the inning off with a pair of bloop singles that just found the grass to put runners on base. The Mustangs would turn the singles into a run with a ground ball to the left side, but Armagost would not allow another run to cross the plate en route to the victory.
After taking the opener against the Mustangs, the Tigers put the series in their pocket in game two in much the same fashion as game one as Pacific used a timely home run and recovered from an opening deficit for the win. With Cal Poly staked to a two run lead after just one half inning of play, the Tigers answered right back in their first at bat of the game to knot the contest at 2-2. Picking up singles from their top three hitters, the Tigers posted their first run of the game when Matson delivered once again, this time with a single down the right field line. Matson's single brought home Hom who had reached on an infield single to start the game and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and a single by Armagost. With Matson at second and two outs in the inning, sophomore Taylor Petty delivered the game-tying hit with a bloop down the right field line to plate the senior and bring the contest back to square one.
One inning later, the Tigers took the lead for the first and final time against the Mustangs in the bottom of the second when junior Megan Allen, who suddenly found herself red hot at the plate, lifted a solo home run over the right field fence to give Pacific the 3-2 lead. Allen's solo home run was her first home run of the season as she became the final Pacific starter to send a pitch over the fence in the 2012 season. Additionally, Allen's home run was her 13th career big fly as she moved into a tie for No. 9 on Pacific's career home runs list after matching Kellee Wilson's (2007-10) four-year total.
Just as Armagost had done before her in the first game, freshman Dani Bonnet made the most of the offense provided to her in game two as she threw a complete seven innings to also move to 10-6 on the season. The freshman gave up six hits and two runs, but held the Mustangs' off the scoreboard for six strong innings after a rough first inning. In the first, Cal Poly took advantage of three hits, including a double by Whitely Gerhart that brought home the first of the two runs in the inning. She would later score on a single up the middle by Celina Lafrades. Despite the initial damage, Bonnet pitched out of the jam in the first and got herself out of trouble again in the fourth to secure the victory. The freshman also recorded five strikeouts in the afternoon game to one up her junior counter part from the early contest.
Overall, Allen led way for the Tigers offensively as the junior went 4-for-4 at the plate with one home run and one RBI. Not far behind, Armagost and Hom each finished the day 3-for-6 while Matson posted a 2-for-5 showing with three RBI and two runs scored.
Pacific will look for the series sweep on Sunday, April 29, as the two teams meet for the third time on the weekend at 12:00 pm at Bill Simoni Field.