SOFTBALL FAILS TO GET THE CLUTCH HIT, IS SWEPT BY LOYOLA MARYMOUNT
LOS ANGELES -- Loyola Marymount’s Tiffany Pagano combined to pitch all 14.0 innings while allowing the Hornets just one run and nine hits to lead the Lions to a doubleheader sweep of Sacramento State in a Pacific Coast Softball Conference (PCSC) matchup Saturday afternoon at Smith Field. The Lions won the first game, 2-1, before taking the second game, 1-0.
Pagano also struck out 14 batters during the doubleheader and improved her season record to 20-8. The Hornets had their chances to score in both games, stranding numerous players in scoring position. In fact, Sacramento State went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position and 3-for-23 (.130) with runners on base. Of the Hornets’ nine hits, only one went for extra bases, and that was junior Izmena Cabrera’s solo home run in the first game, her eighth of the season.
Sacramento State, which had entered the doubleheader in sole possession of first place in the PCSC standings, dropped to 24-17 overall and 6-4 in the conference. The Lions improved to 31-15 and 6-4 with the victories. Today’s outcome, coupled with Portland State’s doubleheader split with Saint Mary’s, creates a four-way tie for first place with Sacramento State, Loyola Marymount, Portland State and Saint Mary’s with 10 conference games remaining in the season for all four teams.
The winner of the PCSC regular-season championship receives an automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals, a place the Hornets haven’t been since 1995. Sacramento State has finished second in the conference standings each of the last three years.
The Hornets and Lions complete their four-game series tomorrow with another doubleheader at noon. After tomorrow’s doubleheader, Sacramento State will complete their season with four-game series against Santa Clara (home on April 26-27) and San Diego (away on May 3-4). Santa Clara and San Diego are the bottom two teams in the conference.
In the first game, Pagano allowed the Hornets just five hits and one run over seven innings. She struck out 10 Sacramento State batters while walking only two. Sacramento State had its chances, but left runners in scoring position in four different innings.
LMU got on the board in the second inning on an RBI-single from Priscilla Satete which scored Chelsie Tysdal. The Hornets tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the fourth on Cabrera’s solo home run. The Lions, however, retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a solo home run from Megan Ackerman.
Sacramento State had a runner at second base with one out in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but could not push another run across the plate. The Hornets had runners at first and second in the seventh inning, but Pagano struck out Whitney Loomis and induced Amy Tompkins to ground out to third base which ended the game.
Sacramento State junior starter Kayla Meeks was nearly as effective as Pagano, allowing just five hits and two runs over six innings. No player from either side had a multiple-hit game, and Pagano and Meeks combined to retire 39 of the 54 batters they faced. Meeks dropped to 11-7 with the loss. Cabrera, Meeks, Hilary Johnson, Teri Ann Caoagan and Jenice Bartee had the Hornets’ hits during the game.
In the nightcap, Pagano came back and was even more impressive than the first game, allowing the Hornets just four singles while striking out four over 7.0 innings. Sacramento State had runners in scoring position in the second, third and fifth innings, but Pagano was able to work out of the jams each time. With both victories today, Pagano improved her season record to 20-8.
The game’s only run was scored in the third inning when Amy Charpentier’s one-out double scored Kirsten Slouber from third base. That marked the only run that Sacramento State freshman pitcher Megan Schaefer (3-3) allowed during the entire contest as she gave up just five hits and one run over 6.0 innings. However, Pagano was just too much for the Hornets, facing just five batters over the minimum.
Sacramento State’s best chance to score came in the third inning as the Hornets loaded the bases with two outs. However, Jamie Schloredt was ruled to have left first base early during Cabrera’s at-bat, ending the inning. Caoagan (2-for-3) had two hits for the Hornets, and Slouber had two hits for Loyola Marymount, marking the only two players with multiple-hit games. Tompkins and Meeks also had hits for Sacramento State.
Meeks and Schaefer combined to allow the Lions just three runs and 10 hits over 12.0 innings, and limited Loyola Marymount to just a .222 batting average during the doubleheader.