Pacific Pours It On Late To Blast New Mexico State, 10-2
Tempe, Ariz. - Closing out their stay at the Diamond Devil Invitaitonal, the Pacific softball team hammered New Mexico State late in their contest on Sunday, March 11, to take home a 10-2 victory. The win for the Tigers moved them to 4-1 at the invitational and 14-9 on the year while the Aggies dropped their first game of the tournament and fell to 3-1 in Tempe and 16-11 overall.
In a game that started as a pitchers duel, the Tigers turned the contest into an offensive showcase over the final two innings of play to bury the Aggies beneath an avalanche of runs. Down 2-1 with just six outs to play with, the Tigers scored a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning before putting the game out of reach with a seven run seventh.
Sending the heart of the order to the plate in the sixth, the Tigers picked up three-straight hits out of junior Nikki Armagost, senior Nicole Matson and junior Amy Moore to knot the game at 2-2. Moore picked up the RBI single as she went the opposite way with an outside pitch to slash a single through the right side. With Matson at third, the Tigers dropped down their second squeeze of the week as sophomore Megan Foglesong perfectly executed the sacrifice bunt to bring home Matson with what would ultimately be the game winning run.
Back in control of the contest, the Tigers left no doubt as to who would come out with the win in the contest as 11 hitters stepped to the plate in the seventh inning to notch seven runs. Beginning at the top of the order, junior Megan Hom got the big inning started with a single up the middle for her third hit of the afternoon in her fourth trip to the plate. After moving to second on a bunt, Hom would trot the rest of the way around the bases when Armagost blasted her third home run of the weekend to center field to net two more runs for the Tigers. Not to be outdone, Matson followed Armagost around the bases with her second home run of the weekend as she sent a solo shot over the right-center field wall for the third run of the inning.
Forcing a new pitcher into the contest, the Tigers were no nicer to the new hurler than they were to the previous two Aggie pitchers as Moore greeted Celisha Walker with a single up the middle that was knocked down by the shortstop. From there the wheels came completely off for New Mexico State as an error at short on a would-be double play gave the Tigers a free out and a free runner. Pacific immediately turned that freebie into a run when senior Alex Rivera roped a double off the fence in left-center to bring home Moore. A second error two batters later would net the Tigers two more runs before Hom finished off the Tigers' big inning with a RBI double to right-center for her second hit of the inning.
Prior to the outburst at the end of the game, the Tigers found themselves locked in a battle with the Aggies as neither team could take a strong foothold. Pacific got on the board first in the contest as the Tigers netted a single run in the top of the fourth inning on a RBI single by Foglesong. Foglesong was able to bring home Matson from second after the senior moved herself into scoring position with her seventh stolen base of the year after being struck on the hand by a pitch. The hit by pitch for Matson was the 50th time in her career the senior had been given a free base and a free bruise for her trouble.
The lead would be short lived for the Tigers as the Aggies responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning when freshman Dani Bonnet got into a jam she could not pitch her way out of. After loading the bases with a single and a pair of walks, the Aggies picked up their first run of the game with a single by Teresa Conrad. The hit would be the last pitch for Bonnet in the game as she gave way to sophomore Tori Shepard who promptly picked up the second out of the inning before a check-swing single netted the Aggies their second run of the inning. The run would be the last of the game for the Aggies as Shepard slammed the door on the inning and with it the game.
In 3.2 innings of work, Shepard gave up two hits and no runs while striking out one and walking one. The sophomore found herself in just one jam of her own in the seventh, but quickly extinguished any thoughts of an Aggie comeback by getting the strength of the order to pop up or fly out on three different pitches. Shepard moved to 4-3 on the season and finished her weekend with a pair of wins and one save at the Diamond Devil Invitatoinal.
For the Aggies, Alex Newman suffered the loss as she left in the sixth with the lead intact but a pair of Tigers on the basepaths. Newman gave up five hits and was charged with three runs to fall to 8-7 on the year. In relief, Karysta Donisthorpe went 1.1 innings and gave up four hits and three runs while Walker gave up three hits and four runs, all unearned in 0.2 innings of action.
Offensively, Hom led the Tigers' attack with a 4-for-5 showing including picking up a pair of doubles, one run and one RBI. Armagost, Matson and Moore all picked up two hits for the Tigers as Pacific tallied 12 hits against the Aggies to post their second straight double-digit hit effort.
The Tigers are scheduled to be back in action on Wednesday, March 14 when they host a triple header with Butler and Colorado State. Pacific will take on Colorado State at 3:00 pm followed by Butler at 5:00 pm. Butler and Colorado State will play a single game prior to the Tigers contests at 1:00 pm.