May 6, 2011
Stockton, Calif. - Continuing their roll through the Big West, the Pacific softball team picked up another series victory by taking down UC Santa Barbara in a twin bill on Friday, May 6 at Bill Simoni Field. The Tigers won game one, 3-2, before taking game two, 5-1. Pacific improved to 34-16 overall and 13-4 in the Big West while the Gauchos fell to 24-25 on the year and 8-9 in conference.
With Long Beach State idol until Saturday, the Tigers took sole possession of first place in the conference as they moved a full game ahead of the 49ers in the Big West. The 49ers sit at 11-4 in the Big West and will take on Cal State Fullerton in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.
Using two very different methods of putting runs on the board, the Tigers made use of their power in game one to take the win while using small ball tactics in game two.
Opening their weekend against the Gauchos' ace, Pacific tagged Krista Cobb for three runs on seven hits including picking up a pair of long balls that did the bulk of their damage. The Tigers got their first big hit of the game in the top of the second inning when sophomore Amy Moore left the park for the seventh time on the year on a 3-1 pitch. Moore's solo shot came just after junior Nicole Matson missed leaving the yard to end the first, setting the stage the catcher's home run.
Moore's home run made up for a run given up in the top half of the inning when a pair of Tiger errors handed the Gauchos their first run of the game.
After adding in the third on a bases loaded walk, the Tigers got their third and final run, the game winner for Pacific, on a solo shot in the sixth by freshman Kelsey Rodriguez. Rodriguez's shot was her second of the year and gave the freshman her second RBI of the contest after she earned an RBI with her plate discipline in the third.
With her team picking up three runs, sophomore Nikki Armagost held the potent Gaucho offense to just two runs on the day, with only one in the earned department to move to 17-9 on the year. The sophomore did not have it easy in the circle throughout her contest as she gave up seven hits and had to pitch her way out of a handful of two out jams to earn the victory. In all, Armagost faced 31 Gauchos in the game, striking out three to go along with a pair of walks.
Holding control of the first game, the Tigers went to work in game two, jumping on the Gauchos in the first for a pair of runs that would be all the run support needed to earn the win. After picking up a leadoff walk by sophomore Megan Hom, the Tigers made use of an error on the left-side of the infield to take their lead. With one run across on the error, Moore and Rodriguez strung together a pair of singles to bring home the second run of the inning. On Rodriguez's single, Matson came home to score her 100th career run, becoming just the 11th Tiger in program history to hit the century mark in runs scored.
In the second, Pacific tacked on a third run, this time on a two-out, RBI single by Armagost which plated senior Lindsey Pierce. Pierce had leadoff the inning with her third hit of the afternoon and would finish with four hits total to lead the way for the Tigers.
Up 3-0, the Tigers would give back a run in the top of the fourth as a miscue in the outfield led to a leadoff runner reaching scoring position. The run would eventually come in on a single up the middle as the Gauchos used three singles to pick up the unearned run.
Despite the mistake, the Tigers offense continued to plug away, threatening to break the game wide open in both the fourth and the fifth innings before finally coming through with a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. In the inning, it was once again the plate discipline of Rodriguez that snapped the drought for the Tigers as the freshman worked her second bases loaded walk of the day to get Pacific its fourth run. The Tigers added their fifth and final run of the game with a RBI ground out by junior Alexa Rivera.
Freshman Tori Shepard made use of her offenses five runs as she put away the Gauchos to improve to 13-7 on the year. While Shepard gave up eight hits in the game, she got herself out of trouble throughout the afternoon session by pitching into her defense and relying on their gloves. In the game, Pacific came up with a handful of run scoring plays with Rivera ending a pair of threats with her defense while Pierce robbed a bloop shot to shallow right to start the seventh to keep the Gauchos from starting a rally. Overall, Shepard picked up the complete game victory as she went seven innings while striking out two and walking none.
Offensively, Pierce finished the day 4-for-6 with a walk and a run scored while Moore ended her day 3-for-7 with one RBI and one run scored. Hom was the lone Tiger to score twice while posting a 2-for-6 day at the plate. In game two, Armagost's RBI single was her 40th RBI of the season as she joined Matson in becoming just the third set of teammates in program history to each record 40+ RBI in a single season.
Pacific will look for the series sweep on Saturday, May 7, when the two teams meet again at Bill Simoni Field. Due to graduation ceremonies being held around campus the game is scheduled for 10:00 am. Prior to the game Pacific will honor three players (Pierce, Shaina Brock and Gabby McDaniel) playing their last game at Bill Simoni Field.