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A Sputtering Start

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February 13, 2007
Gary Pine
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AZUSA, Calif. –- Third baseman Leslie Carrasco collected 4 hits, including a double, and pitcher Jordan Dahl stroked another 3 hits, including a 2-run homer, as Cal State San Bernardino took advantage of some shoddy Cougar defense to sweep Azusa Pacific, 6-1 and 6-4, in the Cougars’ 2007 season-opener.

Azusa Pacific looked every bit like a team playing its first games of the season versus a San Bernardino squad that had already played 8 contests. The Cougars committed 8 errors in the twin-bill, 4 in each game that led to 7 unearned runs for the Coyotes.

Cal State San Bernardino, which won the first game 6-1, scored its first 3 runs of the day via Cougar miscues, including a pair that broke a 1-1 tie in the top of sixth. Nicole Camarena’s 1-out single to leftfield scooted under Justine Barnett’s glove and rolled to the wall, allowing Carrasco and Crystal Fraijo to score and put the Coyotes up 3-1. Dahl, who was also dancing around 8 Cougar hits as the Coyote pitcher, then put the game on ice when she cranked her second home run of the season, a 2-run shot over the right field wall in the top of the seventh to put the Coyotes up 5-1.

In the nightcap, the wheels fell off for Azusa Pacific in a fateful fourth inning when the Cougars committed all 4 of its errors in that frame, allowing the Coyotes to score all 6 of their runs, 3 of which were unearned. Carrasco’s single to center scored Krista Hernandez to tie the game at 1-1. Megan Spano then lifted a looping single just out the reach of a back-peddling Cougar second baseman Tami Carter to push Carrasco across the plate and give the Coyotes a 2-1 advantage that it would never relinquish. Azusa Pacific then committed 3 more errors in the frame, and the Coyotes tallied 4 more runs.

Azusa Pacific bats banged Coyotes pitchers for 18 hits on the evening, including 4 of the extra base variety. However, the Cougars could not come up with the clutch hit, particularly in the nightcap when they stranded 8 runners on base. The Coyotes fashioned some fancy glove-work as well, particularly by Carrasco at third base where she snared no less than 3 line shots at the hot corner to stifle any Cougar comeback.

In her first game back after missing all of last year with a shoulder injury, sophomore catcher Natalie Mickelson led Azusa Pacific by going 3-for-4 in the doubleheader with 2 RBIs. Carter was 3-for-7 with a pair of triples and a double.

Dahl picked up the win in the first game to improve to 3-2 on the season, and Maddie Pulido worked just long enough, 4.1 innings in the second game, to register her first win on the season.

With the sweep, Cal State San Bernardino pulls its record even at 5-5 while Azusa Pacific falls to 0-2 to start the season.