Stockton, Calif. - Living for the dramatic, the Pacific softball team rallied its way past Long Beach State, 6-5, on Sunday, April 14, as sophomore Alex Steinmehl hit a walk-off solo home run to lead the Tigers to the win. Pacific's walk-off win moved the team into sole possession of second place in the Big West at 10-4 while the 49ers fell to 9-4 in conference play. The win marked the fourth-consecutive conference series win for the Tigers.
For the Tigers, the Steinmehl's home run was the third game-tying or game-winning home run by Pacific in the seventh innning in as many games as the sophomore followed the lead of senior Megan Allen (game one) and junior Taylor Petty (game two). For Steinmehl, the towering blast in the seventh inning was the first of her young career and left no doubt from the time it left the bat as the sophomore cleared Pacific's scoreboard in left-center field.
Prior to Steinmehl's game-winning home run, the Tigers had rallied back from down 5-2 after four innings of play to get back into the contest. In the fifth, Pacific used three singles to notch a single run as Steinmehl struck for the first time with an RBI bloop down the right field line. Steinmehl's two-out single scored senior Nikki Armagost from second after she moved into scoring position on a two-out single by Allen.
An inning later, the Tigers tied the game at 5-5 as they rallied with two-outs to score a pair of runs. With junior Megan Foglesong at first, Armagost lined a double down the left field line that was just out of reach of the Long Beach State leftfielder as the ball caromed of Emily Gregorio's outstretched glove and into the corner. Running all the way, Foglesong scored from first while Armagost moved into scoring position. With a pinch-runner at second in the form of sophomore Kamalei Pitoy, senior Amy Moore delivered the chop single over third base that she did not get in game one giving Pitoy the time to just beat the throw from left into the plate to score the game-tying run.
Pacific's come back was necessary once again as the 49ers again used the long ball to put the Tigers on their heels. Tied at 2-2 after the two teams traded a pair on unearned runs in the second, the 49ers sent two errant pitches over the fence in right during the fourth inning to grab their 5-2 lead. In the inning, Shayna Kimbrough kicked off the scoring for the 49ers with a two-run home run as the 49er shortstop hit her first career home run on a 2-2. Two batters later, Hannah De Gaetano tacked on the 49ers fifth and final run of the afternoon with a solo shot of her own for her first home run of the weekend and the 49ers seventh overall at Bill Simoni Field.
In the circle, sophomore Dani Bonnet (5-9) earned the win in relief as she went 3.1 innings to quell the 49er offense. Bonnet relinquished just four hits in her time in the circle as she came in for junior Tori Shepard in the fourth inning. Shepard left after 3.2 innings of work having given up nine hits and five runs, three earned.
On the other side, Eric Jones-Wesley (14-7) was again knocked around by the Tigers' offense as the 49er ace gave up 14 hits and six runs, four earned, in 6.1 innings of work. Of the 14 hits, senior Megan Hom grabbed three for the third-straight game while Armagost finished her day 3-for-3 at the plate. For the 49ers, Darian Tautalafua went 4-for-4 while Long Beach State posted 13 hits.
Pacific is back in action on Wednesday, April 17 when the Tigers travel back to UC Davis to complete their three-game split series with the Aggies. The two teams will meet in a rubber game at 2:00 pm.