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Something to Cheer About

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Published
March 8, 2007
By
Gary Pine
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AZUSA, Calif. –- Azusa Pacific banged out 26 hits in less than 12 innings of play and rode the solid pitching of Erin Halma and Camille Hundley to its first doubleheader sweep of the season, taking 2 games from Dakota Wesleyan, 6-2 and 10-2, at the Cougar softball complex.

The 2 victories pull the Cougar record even at 7-7 for the first time this season.

The top of the Cougar line-up -- Lori Shimasaki, Justine Barnett, and Tami Carter combined for 11 of the Cougars’ 26 safeties on the day and accounted for 9 runs.

In the opening game, after Dakota Wesleyan assumed a 2-0 first-inning lead on Tiger first baseman Leslie McCain’s homerun, Shimasaki ripped a triple to right-center to score Bailey Blazek and cut the Cougar deficit in half. The speedy senior then came home and Carter’s perfectly-placed bunt to tie the game at 2-2 in the third inning.

The Cougars broke open the game in the fifth inning by taking advantage of a pair of Tiger errors. With the bases full and no outs, Courtney Cleaves hit a soft grounder to first base which McCain successfully fielded. However, her throw sailed away from catcher Megan Hauck, allowing Barnett to score the go-ahead run. Carter then came home on a ground out, but when the Tigers threw behind second base that throw too sailed away, allowing Cleaves and Halma to circle the bases and give Azusa Pacific a 6-2 advantage.

That was more than enough cushion for the freshman hurler Halma, who despite laboring through nearly 150 pitches, repeatedly came up with the big pitch to get out of continual jams. She stranded 6 Tigers in scoring position.

In the second game, Hundley was sterling in the circle, posting her best outing of the season, a 2-hitter that included 8 strikeouts. She struck out 5 of the first 9 Tigers she faced and didn’t allow a base runner until the fourth inning. By then Azusa Pacific had parlayed 3 Tiger errors into 4-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Carter blew open the game with a floating double down the right-field line that pushed across Shimasaki and Barnett to put Azusa Pacific up 6-2 at the time. Tierney Burk, who had a 2-run triple in the third inning, laced a single to center to score Carter across and increase the Cougar lead to 8-2 at the time.

With 1 out in the bottom of the sixth inning, freshman Bre Anderson ended the game with a single to right field that scored Cleaves and Burk.

Burk and Anderson each had 3 hits and 3 RBIs in the nightcap.

On the day, Shimasaki and Barnett were 4-for-8 at the plate. Blazek was 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored.

Azusa Pacific now owns a modest but season-best 4-game winning streak which it will put to the test Saturday in a 10:30 a.m. doubleheader vs. Dominican.