May 7, 2011
Stockton, Calif. - Closing out their home schedule at Bill Simoni Field, the Pacific softball team made sure to clean up after themselves as they swept UC Santa Barbara with a 9-2 win on Saturday, May 7. The win put Pacific in control of the conference at 14-4 in Big West games and 35-16 overall while the Gauchos slipped to 8-10 in the Big West and 24-26 overall.
The sweep was the Tigers second straight sweep over the Gauchos after taking all three road games in 2010. It marked their second straight home sweep in conference action after sweeping UC Riverside two weeks prior. Pacific finished the year at 17-4 in the confines of Bill Simoni Field, its largest win total since the 2003 season.
Looking to send their seniors out on a high note in the final home game of 2011, the Tigers did what they have done best throughout the year as they jumped on the Gauchos in the first inning and never looked back. Putting pressure on the Gauchos' defense with two outs, the Tigers put a pair of runners in scoring position with a walk and a two-out double by junior Nicole Matson to set up the inning. A miscue in the field by the Gauchos would give the Tigers their first two runs of the inning while a single by freshman Kelsey Rodriguez would go down as the game-winning strike for the Tigers.
Scoring on the error before Rodriguez's single, Matson became just the third Tiger in program history to record both 40 runs and 40 RBI in the same season, joining all-time greats Gina Carbonatto and Jennifer Curtier in the exclusive 40-40 club. Matson would score again later in the game to push her season total to 41, taking the Big West lead from freshman Megan Foglesong.
Two innings later the Tigers added the first of six insurance runs as they again rallied with two outs in the inning with three straight hits. After a double by Rodriguez and a single by junior Alexa Rivera put runners in scoring position, senior Lindsey Pierce lined a shot off the pitcher up the middle to plate the fourth run of the game.
After seeing their lead cut in half by giving up a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fifth after a two-out error, Pacific would put the Gauchos away for good with a five run fifth to take a commanding 9-2 lead. In the inning, Pacific posted four hits including a two-run home run off the bat of sophomore Megan Allen, whose long ball was her third of the season but also her 12th career shot, placing her into a tie for No. 10 all-time in Tiger history.
However, the hit was not the biggest of the inning for the Tigers as Pierce picked up her third single of the afternoon just before Allen's home run, a single which was her 200th career hit. Pierce became just the eighth Tiger in program history to reach the 200 hit mark, doing so in her final home game.
In the circle, the Tigers picked up another dominating effort from sophomore Nikki Armagost as the she improved to 18-9 on the year and 9-1 in Big West games. Giving up just four hits in the game, Armagost did not allow an earned run while throwing her 17th complete game of the season. In all, Armagost struck out six and faced just two scoring threats in the contest in the fourth and fifth innings of play.
Armagost's counterpart, Krista Cobb, was charged with all nine runs, only five earned, while throwing all six innings in the circle. Cobb also walked five while striking out just one as she fell to 12-14 on the year.
Leading the way for the Tigers was Pierce and Rodriguez as the duo each recorded three hits in the game. The duo each drove in two runs in the contest while Rodriguez scored a pair as well. For the weekend, Rodriguez was 5-for-7 with six RBI and three runs scored while Pierce went 7-for-10 scoring twice. Sophomore Megan Hom picked up a pair of hits in the contest as well with her double in the fifth going down as her 65th hit of the season, tying the centerfielder for No. 8 on Pacific's single-season hits list.
The Tigers will close out the 2011 regular season with a trip down to San Luis Obispo, Calif. to take on Cal Poly on Friday, May 13 - Saturday, May 14. The Tigers' opening doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 12:00 pm on Friday afternoon.