Phoenix, Ariz. – The women's softball team split their pair of games against Weber State and Grand Canyon University in the second day of the GCU Kickoff Tournament. The Tigers fell short 6-4 against the Wildcats but came out victorious in a 7-6 decision to the Lopes.
"We really knew all of us were pretty even teams and it really came down to who was going to be the last team to score," Head Coach Brian Kolze stated.
Pacific moves to 3-1 on the season. Weber State evens out to 2-2 while GCU drop to 2-3.
Pacific vs. Weber State - Box Score
In a rematch following yesterday's 5-4 win, the Tigers found themselves in a similar battle against their Big Sky opponent but just fell short this time around as the Wildcats scored in each of the last four innings to pull away from Pacific, 6-4.
The Orange and Black put up the first points on the board as Rachel Sellers ran home off a Weber State error for a 1-0 lead in the third inning.
Pitcher Kenya Lindstrom had a strong outing the first three innings for Pacific but had a rough time onwards giving up three-runs and four hits in the 4th inning which put Pacific down 3-1.
The Tigers responded in the bottom of the 4th however, scoring three runs off four hits taking advantage of another crucial error by the Wildcats that allowed Samantha Owens and Sydney Lahners to advance to home plate.
Talli Shepherd's single down the left field line knotted up the game, 4-4, and put Pacific back in contention. The freshman second baseman had another clutch single late in yesterday's win against Weber State that ended up being the Tigers' go-ahead run.
"Talli's doing a great job developing in her role and getting great at bats," said Kolze. "She's doing a great job in that lead off role and this level of competition is just getting her better every day."
Pacific was held scoreless for the rest of the game as the Wildcats knocked in one run in the fifth, sixth, and seventh inning to even the series between the two teams and one a piece.
The Tigers forced three errors for Weber State and converted them into three runs.
Although Pacific played a clean game defensively, recording a fielding percentage of .969, the Wildcats tallied 14 hits and batted a team average .424 which proved to be the decisive factor.
Pacific vs. GCU – Box Score
Against the hosts Grand Canyon University, Pacific fought till the final out against the Lopes to secure a 7-6 victory.
The Orange and Black ignited for four runs in the bottom of the first inning, giving themselves an early cushion to start out the game.
Lahners and Bradi Kooyman led the way during the Tigers' 4-0 rally both hitting doubles to left field and bringing home a runner.
The Lopes made a run of their own the next inning, as an error by Kooyman and two earned runs given up by Marissa Young cut GCU's deficit down to 4-3.
"I thought Marissa did a really good job hanging in there and getting through it," said Kolze. "[She] made some great pitches and [GCU] just executed and made it tough to get outs in some situations but they hung in there."
With the score tied up at four a piece in the third, redshirt freshman Madison Hopper made her collegiate hit with a home run shot to left center for a 2-RBI shot, taking back the lead for Pacific 6-4.
Pacific remained in control of the game after that point as Lahners blasted the Orange and Black's second home run of the day in the bottom of the sixth to give the Tigers a 7-5 advantage.
"Jumping out to that big lead helped us a lot," Kolze said. "Hopper came through in her first start and her first collegiate hit with a homer and then Syd hitting one out in the 6th which gave us that additional run meant a lot."
GCU scored one more run in the top of the seventh and left a runner on second but it wasn't enough as Pacific prevailed with a pop fly to Lahners to end the game.
The Tigers capitalized on their at bats and were 3-7 from the field with runners in scoring position.
Pacific closes out the GCU Tournament tomorrow with a match against No. 1 Oklahoma at 11 A.M. The two-time defending National Champions are 4-0 on the season, blanking Montana 4-0 and GCU 10-0 on Saturday.
"There's already built in excitement playing a number one ranked team in Oklahoma but we just have to approach this like it's any other game," said Kolze. "These last three games have been a lot for us coming down to the final pitch but that's what's going to make us stronger over the course of the season and I expect a great effort for us tomorrow."