Tigers upset No. 3 LSU in successful opening weekend
The Pacific softball team is off to a strong start in the 2016 season, emerging from the year’s first tournament with a winning record. The Tigers won three out of the five games they played over the weekend at the Tiger Classic in Louisiana, with one of those wins coming in the form of a 2-1 victory over the team hosting the tournament, No. 3 LSU.
The Tigers’ first game of the season resulted in a 2-4 loss to Ohio State on Friday. Pacific got to the Buckeyes early, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when third baseman Cassidy Gustafson ‘17 singled in second baseman Nicole Zapotoczny ’16. OSU responded with a two-out rally in the bottom of the same inning against starting pitcher Marissa Young ’18, giving them a 2-1 lead. The Buckeyes added two more to that lead in the fourth, and Pacific would only score once more, on an RBI single by center fielder Sara Anderson ’16 in the fifth.
The Tigers got on track during Friday’s second game, shutting out the UConn Huskies 3-0 thanks in part to a gritty pitching performance by Gustafson. After swinging the bat well in the earlier game, Gustafson pitched seven innings of scoreless ball, giving up seven hits and striking out four in the complete game. In the first inning, catcher Rachel Sellers ’18 worked an RBI walk, and first baseman Sydney Lahners knocked in a second run with a sacrifice fly. The Tigers tacked on one more in the fifth when left fielder Haylee Moran-Rowen ’17 scored on a fielding error by the Huskies.
The Tigers picked up another shutout victory to start Saturday, defeating North Florida 5-0. Marissa Young bounced back from Friday’s loss in a big way by holding the Ospreys scoreless through six innings. Pitcher Kenya Lindstrom ‘16 closed the game for the Tigers, retiring the final three UNF batters. The Tiger offense came through with some exciting plays during the game; Lahners hit Pacific’s first home run of the season and drove in two, and Zapototczny bunted in left fielder Molly Bourne ’18 on a suicide squeeze play.
The Tigers made it three wins in a row on Saturday with what was surely the highlight of the weekend: a 2-1 victory over No. 3 LSU. The “other Tigers” suffered their only loss of the tournament to Pacific. Our Tigers rode another outstanding pitching effort by Gustafson, who struck out three in recording her second complete game of the tournament. Gustafson struggled with control at times, giving up eight walks, but ultimately helped will the team to victory. Lahners also played a large role in the win, recording two hits and one run batted in. Sara Anderson scored the winning run for Pacific in the fourth when she made it home after a single by Nicole Zapotoczny. LSU started the season 25-0 last year, but Pacific’s efforts have ensured there will be no such streak this time around.
LSU got the last laugh, unfortunately, when they beat Pacific 10-1 on the back of pitcher Carly Hoover on Sunday. Along with Hoover’s 11-strikeout performance, LSU’s batters overwhelmed everything the Orange and Black threw at them, and the Tigers’ win streak came to an end. However, Pacific does emerge from the opening tournament with an encouraging 3-2 record. The Tigers will look to continue their success when they pick back up this Friday in Cathedral City, California for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.
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