Long Beach, Calif. - Hitting the road for the final time in 2012, the Pacific softball team took home a split of their day one doubleheader with Long Beach State on Friday, May 11. Pacific took game one, 3-2, before falling in game two, 9-1 (6 inn.). The split moved the Tigers record to 13-7 in Big West play and 34-19 overall while the 49ers improved to 15-5 in the conference and 27-23 overall.
For the Tigers, the loss offically eliminated Pacific from the 2012 title hunt as the 49ers guaranteed themselves at least a share of the conference title.
Opening the day against the top pitching staff in the Big West, the Tigers jumped on the conference ERA leader, Taylor Petty, early to take hold of the first game. After missing out on plating runs in the first and second, the Tigers did not miss in the third as Pacific grabbed a pair of runs to take its first lead of the day. In the inning, the Tigers made the most of a pair of singles by junior Megan Hom and sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez to jump start the inning. After a walk to sophomore Taylor Petty loaded the bases, sophomore Megan Foglesong picked up the easiest RBI of the day for the Tigers as the left fielder worked a walk of her own to push home Hom. Following the RBI walk, junior Amy Moore tallied up a second run for the Tigers with a ball back up the middle that was cut off by the 49ers shortstop, but not in time to get any runner.
Up 2-0, the Tigers added a crucial insurance run in the top of the fifth when head coach Brian Kolze went back into his bag of tricks to steal a third run. With runners at second and third and no one out in the inning, the Tigers executed a perfect squeeze play between Foglesong and senior Nicole Matson as Foglesong dropped down a bunt to the first base line as Matson easily swiped home. The squeeze was the third of the season for Foglesong and Matson and proved to be important for the Tigers at the end of the game.
With three runs of support, sophomore Tori Shepard put the rest of the game to bed, only finding trouble in the second and sixth innings of play. In the second, Shepard pitched her way out of a bases loaded jam after the 49ers pickd up the first three of their seven hits in the game. In the sixth, Shepard was not as lucky Long Beach State used a pair of bloop hits and a Pacific error to score a pair of runs. Despite the runs crossing the plate, Shepard was able to get out of the inning as the Tigers took down the final runner in a run-down between third and home, cutting down what would have been the game-tying run.
In all, Shepard gave up seven hits and two runs, one earned, while striking out two and walking one to pick up her 13th win of the season. Offensively, the Tigers picked up eight hits with Rodriguez and Matson each tallying two hits while Foglesong recorded two of Pacific's three RBI.
After taking game one, the Tigers were unable to keep their momentum going in game two as the 49ers jumped out to a big early lead and never let Pacific back into the contest. Opening the game in the first, the 49ers plated five runs on four hits to put Pacific behind for good. They would add three more in the fourth before ending the game early in the sixth on a bases loaded walk. In the game, the 49ers were able to pick up 12 hits against the Tigers' pitchers with five different players recording two hits to lead the way.
For Pacific, the offense was able to muster one run against Erin Jones-Wesley as the 49er sophomore kept the Tigers to five hits to grab her 19th win of the year. Of the five hits, the Tigers posted four in the top of the third as Hom led the inning off with her 75th hit of the season before Rodriguez laid down a bunt single followed by a Matson rope into right. The hit by Matson brought Hom home for the 49th time in 2012 while also marking the 49th RBI of the season for the slugging senior.
With one more run and one more RBI, Hom and Matson will become the first teammates in program history to hit the 50 run/RBI plateau together in a single season.
The Tigers will look to finish their 2012 season off with a bang on Saturday, May 12, when they look for the series victory over the 49ers in the rubber game of the three-game set. The final game of the regular season for the Tigers and the 49ers is set to take place at 1:00 pm from Long Beach State.