Tigers Split Games at NorCal Challenge

Tigers Split Games at NorCal Challenge

STOCKTON, Calif. - The Pacific softball team split a pair of games between Fairleigh Dickinson and Sacramento State at the NorCal Challenge Saturday afternoon. The Tigers blanked the Knights, 5-0, in their first game of the day and lost, 7-2, to host Sac State in the tail end of their doubleheader.

The Orange and Black move to 10-16 on the year. FDU drops to 4-14 while the Hornets improve to 13-8.

"I think we did a good job finding ways to score runs in our first game and had a solid pitching performance throughout the day," Head Coach Brian Kolze said.

Pacific vs. Fairleigh Dickinson

In their first game of the day, Pacific found it's groove late at the plate scoring five runs in the final four innings to sweep the Knights, 5-0. The Tigers and Knights struggled early on combining for just one hit through three innings.

The Orange and Black took control of the game in the fourth, however, registering their first hit of the game with a Talli Shepherd single followed by a stolen base at second to put her in scoring position.

After a walk by Sydney Lahners, Rachel Sellers doubled to left center and advanced to third, bringing in both runners to home plate and putting Pacific up, 2-0. Sellers finished with two doubles and three RBI for the Tigers.

"Rachel had some timely extra base hits today and did a great job behind and at the plate," said Kolze. "We've been starting to feel a little bit better following with our North Texas game because we're starting to get a little more consistent at the plate."

In the fifth, Madison Hopper, Molly Bourne, and Megan Fields led the inning off with three straight singles to load the bases. Caity Sung followed up with a sac fly to centerfield, bringing in Hopper from third and giving the Tigers a 3-0 advantage. 

The Orange and Black would go on to chip in two more runs in the top of the sixth and seventh inning to add on to their lead and carry their way to victory. 

"Just like any team you're much better when you're controlling the tempo...we didn't control the tempo early but we did control the tempo late," Kolze said.

Hailey Reed had a tremendous day in the circle for Pacific. The Topeka, Kansas natived pitched her second shutout game of the season allowing just three hits and one walk with seven strikeouts. Reed improves to 3-4 following her shutout victory and currently leads the team in strikeouts with 33.  

Pacific vs. Sac State

In the second half of their doubleheader, the Tigers got off to a hot start against tournament host Sac State. Pacific tallied in two runs off four hits and left three runners on in the first inning to get ahead, 2-0, against the Hornets. 

Megan Walters pitched two scoreless innings in the first and second before giving up one run in the bottom third.This cut the Tigers lead down to 2-1. 

Walters found herself in a jam in the fifth inning as the Hornets collected four hits and reached base on two errors and scored four runs on the senior pitcher. Walters finished the day with six hits and three earned runs through 4.1 innings. 

Bethany Hammer took over in the circle and struck out two batters to close out the inning but not before two more runs scored to push the lead to 7-2. 

"Our pitchers did what they need to do but we faced a good team today and our mistakes were magnified by them being able to string the hits together...they weren't big hits but they were timely hits," said Kolze. 

The Orange and Black would go on to register one more hit but Sac State would pull out the victory.

"We jumped out to a lead and did some really good things at the plate throughout the game but we left some runners on early," Kolze said. "Megan did a much better job than the final score reflects but we made mistakes throughout and that really hurt us because [Sac State] strung multiple hits together which we weren't able to do after the first...they won one inning but that inning won them the game," said Kolze. 

Next up for Pacific is a roadtrip to Cal State Northridge for the Matador Classic. The Tigers face CSUN, Georgia Tech, and Cal Poly to close out nonconference play. 

"I see some progression, fight, and energy from our team compared to what we had a few weeks ago and that should bring us all together as long as we continue to do what we still need to do in the three phases offensively, pitching, and defense," Kolze said. "I think overall as a team we should be starting to feel a little better about ourselves because we are making some progression...I'm glad we get to play another four games next weekend to continue to figure some thigns out and move forward."