Stockton, Calif. - Kicking off play at their home Libby Matson Tournament, the Pacific softball team had an up and down day en route to a split of first day of action. The Tigers opened the tournament with a 1-0 loss to Nevada before salvaging the split by beating Southern Utah, 2-1. The split moved Pacific's record to 11-5 on the year and 1-1 at the tournament.
Nevada 1 – Pacific 0
For the Tigers, the opening game of their own tournament came down to just one pitch as a duel between starters turned on one mistake. Having relinquished just one hit through the first five innings of work, senior Nikki Armagost made the one and only mistake of the game on a 1-0 pitch to Megan Sweet in the top of the sixth. Turning on an inside pitch, the Wolf Pack freshman put her team on top with one swing of the bat as the shortstop lifted the Armagost pitch over the right-center fence for the self-made run.
Sweet's one-out, round-tripper in the sixth would be the difference in the game as Pacific's normally reliable offense fell victim to over-eagerness and poor execution at the plate. With chances to score in the middle innings, the Tigers were unable to get the hit or the bunt they need to get on the scoreboard as Megan Dorth kept Pacific's bats quiet for seven complete innings. In total, the Tigers were held to just two hits in the game, both coming from freshman Sara Anderson. The two hits for Anderson were the first two hits of the young outfielders career as she picked up singles to the right side in both the third and fifth innings.
In the circle, Dortch improved to 3-4 on the year as she pitched the complete game while picking up one strike out and walking two. For Armagost, the senior fell to 6-2 on the year despite recording a season-high eight strikeouts.
Pacific 2 – Southern Utah 1
Ending the day with a tilt against the Thunderbirds, the Tigers again picked up a stellar pitching performance in the circle only to see their offense held in check for the second-straight game. Following her senior stablemates lead from game one, sophomore Dani Bonnet put together a seven-inning effort that kept her team in the game and gave Pacific the chance to pull a win out in the end.
Scattering six hits in seven innings, Bonnet gave up just one run in the game when an error in the field allowed the Thunderbird to strike first in the contest. In the third, Southern Utah plated its lone run of the day when Megan Neilsen singled home Cora Cordova from third after the designated player was moved to third on a throwing error. Despite giving up the run, the Tigers picked up a huge lift from senior Megan Hom in centerfield as the fourth-year outfielder nailed the would-be second run of the inning at the plate to end the frame and the threat. Hom was playing in center for the first time in the day after playing as the designated player in the first game.
The saved run by Hom proved to be the difference in the game as Pacific rallied late to take the win and give Bonnet the much-deserved win. After giving up the run in the fourth, Pacific would be gifted it back in the fifth as the Thunderbirds' second error of the game led to the Tigers' first run. In the inning, junior Megan Foglesong provided the Tigers the scoring opportunity by picking up one of her two singles in the contest before stealing second to set up the score.
Two innings later, it was a defensive mistake again that gave Pacific the chance to win the game late as the third error of the day for Southern Utah gave the Tigers a leadoff runner in the bottom of the seventh. After a bunt single and an unintentional, intentional walk loaded the bases for the third time in the game for Pacific, it was Anderson who came up big once again to save the day. Down to her last strike and Pacific's last out in regulation, the freshman drove a single back up the middle to bring home her classmate, Melanie Habib, and provide the Tigers' with the walk-off win.
In all, Bonnet moved to 2-1 on the year as the sophomore struck out four, walked three and gave up just the one unearned run to pick up the win. On the other side, Danielle Axe suffered the hard luck loss as she also gave up just six hits and three walks while going all 6.2 innings for the Thunderbird.
Earlier in the day, the Libby Matson Tournament kicked off with an 11-4 victory by San Jose State over Nevada. The Spartans followed their first win with a second victory as San Jose State shutout Southern Utah, 5-0, to finish the morning session.
The second day of the tournament will be played on Saturday, Mar. 2 as the first game at 10:00 am features Nevada versus Southern Utah. The Tigers will be in action immediately following the first game at 12:15 pm as they take on San Jose State.