Late Inning Magic Not Enough As Pacific Falls 6-5 In Eight At Cal Poly
May 14, 2011
San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Ending their 2011 regular season on the road at Cal Poly, the Pacific softball team suffered a 6-5, eight inning, loss to the Mustangs on Saturday, May 14. The loss dropped the Tigers' record to 37-16 overall and 16-5 in the Big West while the Mustangs improved to 11-36 on the year and 7-14 in conference play.
Prior to the finish of the game, the Tigers had wrapped up the outright Big West title after learning that Long Beach State had fallen, 3-0, at UC Riverside in their regular season finale.
Despite the outright title in their hands heading into the late innings of play, the Tigers did not rest on their laurels as Pacific rallied in the final innings of play for the second straight game to force an extra inning contest for the third straight time. Down four runs with just two innings to plate, the Tigers went to work pushing across three runs in the top of the sixth to close the gap to a single run and begin their rally. Picking up all three runs in the inning was freshman Megan Foglesong as the starting left fielder belted her third double of the afternoon, this time with the bases loaded. The Tigers had picked up singles from sophomore Megan Allen and senior Lindsey Pierce earlier in the inning while also getting an intentional pass issued to junior Nicole Matson who had entered the game as a pinch hitter.
An inning later the Tigers finished their rally as they put their first two batters on base when sophomore Nikki Armagost worked a leadoff walk while sophomore Amy Moore singled up the middle to follow. After pushing them both into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, the Tigers tied the game up on a single back up the middle by junior Alexa Rivera. Rivera's single continued her clutch hitting in San Luis Obispo as the junior scored the game-tying run and drove in the game-winning run for the Tigers in their title-clinching, extra inning, victory over the Mustangs the day prior.
After rallying to tie the game, the Tigers saw their magic run dry in the eighth when they had a chance to take the lead only to see their go-ahead run cut down at the plate to set the stage for the Mustangs' finish. Parlaying their momentum from stopping the Tigers in the top half of the inning, the Mustangs plated the game-winning run in the bottom half of the inning. Continuing her staggering day at the plate, freshman Ashley Romano lined a triple down the right field line to give the Mustangs the scoring threat. Not letting it go to waste senior Stephanie Correia, in her final collegiate at bat, singled to deep right field, plating the run and ending the game.
Prior to the frantic finish, the Tigers got off to a rough start in the first when the Mustangs scored four runs on just two hits to put Pacific in an early hole. After scoring a single run in the top of the first inning on a RBI single by Armagost, the Tigers saw their lead vanish just two batters in the bottom of the inning when Romano hit the first home run of the series for either team. From there, the Mustangs let the Tigers work themselves into an even bigger jam. Five straight free passes gave the Mustangs their final two runs of the inning as Cal Poly took a 4-1 lead into the second inning.
Having sent 10 to the plate in the first, Romano led the inning off for the Mustangs in the bottom of the second where the freshman shortstop sent her second home run of the game over the left field fence. She would finish with 11 total bases in her final game of her inaugural season.
Starting the game for the Tigers in the circle, senior Shaina Brock picked up the no decision after Rivera's RBI in the seventh took her off the hook for her first loss of the season. In one third of an inning, Brock was charged with four runs on two hits. In relief, sophomore Gabby McDaniel threw 6.2 innings of solid relief as she gave up just one run on five hits. She also added four strikeouts and three walks before being relieved by freshman Tori Shepard in the eighth. Shepard would be tagged with the loss as the freshman fell to 14-8 overall as she went 0.1 innings while giving up two hits and one run.
In the circle for the Mustangs, senior Anna Cahn relinquished a hit in every inning to the Tigers and gave up five runs but still improved to 2-12 on the year. In her final collegiate game, Cahn gave up 12 hits and walked three while throwing all eight innings for the Mustangs.
Foglesong's three double day tied a program single-game record for the Tigers as she finished her day 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and one run scored. Her three doubles pushed her season total to 13 tying for No. 8 on Pacific's single-season list. Sophomore Megan Allen, who found her stroke over the weekend, finished the game with two hits in three official at bats while picking up the sacrifice that helped the Tigers tie the game in the seventh.
The loss for the Tigers was their first of the season when scoring first as Pacific is now 26-1 in such games. Additionally, the Tigers lost for just the second time when outhitting their opponents falling to 33-2 in those contests. The loss also marked the first loss for Pacific in extra inning contests as they finished the regular season 5-1 non-regulation games.
Pacific will await their placement in the NCAA tournament as the 64-team tournament will be selected at 7:00 pm on Sunday, May 15 on ESPN U.