Shepard Pitches Pacific Past Bradley, 3-2
Stanford, Calif. - Bouyed by their sophomore pitcher Tori Shepard in the circle, the Pacific softball team downed Bradley, 3-2, on Saturday, February 18, to begin day two of the Stanford Nike Invitational. The win moved the Tigers to 2-3 on the year and 2-1 at the tournament while the Braves fell to 3-5 overall and 1-2 at the tournament. With the win, Pacific takes the No. 2 seed into the semifinal games later in the day where it will meet up with Bradley once again for the right to play in the invitational's championship contest.
For Shepard, her second start of the season and third appearance of the weekend proved to be relatively tame, yet at the same time, in doubt until the final pitch. Despite scattering six hits in the game and allowing a pair of runs to cross the plate, at no time did Shepard look as if she did not have firm control of the game for the Tigers in the circle as she recorded eight strikeouts to pick up her first win of the year. The lone trouble for Shepard came in the first and fourth innings when Bradley took advantage of Pacific's run defense to literally steal a pair of runs.
With miscues and missed chances, the Tigers forced themselves to play from behind much of the morning despite having almost total command of the morning's contest. Squaring up pitches throughout the game, Pacific put runners on base in six of the seven innings played. However, the Tigers struggled to capitalize on its chances at the plate as they left nine runners on base including six in scoring position and four at third base.
However, even with the missed chances to build a substantial lead, the Tigers came through when it mattered most, taking the lead for the first time in the top of the fifth inning and never looking back to take the win. In the fifth, the Tigers put together a two run inning thanks to the heart of the order to turn a one run deficiet into a one run lead. After sophomore Megan Foglesong laced a double down the third base line, junior Nikki Armagost lined a shot up the middle and off the pitcher to put runners on the corners. Two batters later, sophomore Kelsey Rodriguez put the Tigers up for good with a line drive double down the left field line, scoring both Foglesong and Armagost, who had moved to second on a stolen base during the confusion of a check swing strike the batter before.
Earlier in the game, the Tigers picked up their first run of the game in top of the third inning when senior Nicole Matson lifted a deep fly ball to left with runners on the corners to pick up the sacrifice. Matson's sac fly was her second of the weekend and it scored junior Megan Hom who had reached base on an infield single and then worked her way to third on a sacrifice bunt and a single by Armagost.
In all Armagost led they was for the Tigers as the junior first baseman went 3-for-3 with one double and one walk. Four other Tigers picked up a hit in the contest with Rodriguez picking up her third and fourth RBI of the year with her double in the fifth.
For the Braves, Mariah Cole was the lone Bradley offensive player to record multiple hits as she went 2-for-4 while scoring one of the Braves' two runs. In the circle, Mackenzie Camp suffered the loss as she went four innings and gave up five hits and all three runs. She gave way in the fifth to Lindsay Hufeld with runners at the corners for the Tigers and could only watch as Pacific drove home the game-tying and game-winning runs.