Tigers’ first homestand brings mixed results
Pacific softball hosted their first home games of the season, opening up with five games in the Libby Matson Tournament. The Tigers faced Purdue and Bakersfield in two doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday and wrapped up with one final game against Cal Poly on Sunday. They finished the weekend with a 2-3 record and fall to 7-8 on the season, overall.
The first home game of the season did not fare well for the Tigers. Three Pacific errors and a six-run sixth inning for the Boilermakers gave the Tigers their sixth loss of the season as they fell 7-1.
Purdue’s pitcher gave a stellar performance, pitching a complete game while only giving up one earned run and striking out 10 batters.
The Tigers bounced back from the loss and quickly came out with a purpose against Bakersfield, scoring five runs in the first inning. Center fielder Sara Anderson ’16 led off the game with a single to left field, and right fielder Haylee Moran-Rowen ’17 quickly followed suit with a bunt for base-hit.
Second baseman Nicole Zapotoczny ’16 stepped to the plate and delivered a shot over the left-field fence, putting Pacific on the board early.
With two outs, catcher Rachel Sellers ’18 and third baseman Cassidy Gustafason ’17 launched back-to-back home runs, solidifying the “Dinger Derby” that was the first inning. After rock-solid defense in the top of the second inning, Pacific added two more runs in the bottom of the frame. First baseman Sydney Lahners ’18 tallied two RBIs with a single down the left-field line, increasing the Tigers’ lead to seven runs.
The third inning was scoreless for both teams, but Pacific came back firing again in the fourth. Zapotoczny led off the inning with a double to left center field, and Lahners followed suit with a single to right field.
Two outs later, Gustafson came up to bat and cranked a home run over the right center field fence. Power is an understatement. Taylor Covington ’19 came in to pinch hit and nearly followed with another home run, but the Roadrunners were able to track it down at the fence line.
Going into the top of the fifth inning, Bakersfield trailed Pacific by 10 runs. They were able to plate one run, but the damage had been done. After the final out of the inning was recorded, the Tigers were given the victory by the mercy run rule. Gustafson led the team with four RBIs.
On Saturday afternoon, Pacific faced Bakersfield once again, knowing the Roadrunners would be looking to even the score. Nevertheless, they dominated once again, taking the win by mercy rule. The Tigers ended the game in walk-off fashion in the bottom of the fifth inning, and five players contributed RBIs. Notably, three Tigers had extra base-hits. Sellers had a double, Moran-Rowen legged out a triple and Lahners hit her second home run of the season in the bottom of the first.
In the second game of the double header, the Tigers got a second shot at Purdue. They put up a tough fight this time around, but ultimately they struggled to convert with runners on base. Pacific trailed by three, and Zapotoczny launched a home run in the sixth to get the Tigers on the board. Ultimately, that would be the only run they plated. The Boilermakers defeated Pacific, 3-1.
Pacific looked to redeem itself against former conference foe Cal Poly on Sunday. The Mustangs were undefeated at this point in the weekend, and the Tigers hoped to offset them. The game proved to be a pitchers’ duel between Marissa Young ’18 and Cal Poly’s Sierra Hyland, who is currently leading NCAA in strikeouts.
The Mustangs scored first in the top of the third, but the Tigers evened the score when Zapotoczny cranked her third home run of the weekend! The teams shared scoreless frames until the top of the seventh when Cal Poly plated two runs. In the bottom of the inning, Gustafson kept Pacific alive with a one out infield single, putting the tying run at bat.
Unfortunately, the Tigers fell short. Young pitched 6.1 innings, giving up three earned runs. Megan Walters ’18 came in to relieve Young on the mound, pitching 0.2 innings with one strikeout.
The Tigers head out on the road this coming weekend for a tournament at Washington. They return home on Friday, March 11 to host the Louisville Slugger Tournament. Pacific will play No. 7 Oregon and Sacramento State twice each over the course of the weekend.
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