RIVERSIDE, Calif. –- For the second time in as many GSAC encounters this season, Azusa Pacific took on the NAIA’s elite, battling strong in the first game before falling hard in the nightcap. And this time it was no regular power team but rather the nation’s best.
The NAIA’s top-ranked California Baptist swept a pair of conference games from Azusa Pacific, fighting off the Cougars for a 3-0 victory before running away with a convincing 9-0 win in the nightcap.
The Cougars worked All-American Lancer pitcher Candice Thomas the entire first game, putting runners in scoring position in 4 of the final innings 5 innings of play. In fact, Thomas enjoyed just one perfect inning, and continually dodged trouble. Azusa Pacific had runners at second base with one or no outs in the fifth, sixth and seventh inning, but could never get the clutch hit off Thomas to avoid the shutout. In the seventh inning, the Cougars had 2 on with 1 out and then the bases loaded with 2 outs, but Thomas induced a game-ending groundout to preserve her shutout.
Azusa Pacific out-hit CBU, 6-5, but Thomas out-dueled Cougar hurdler Camille Hundley, who yielded a 2-run home run in the second inning for the difference in the game. She gave up an unearned run in the fifth.
Any anticipation about the second game offered by the Cougars’ effort in the opener was quickly dissipated when the first 6 Lancers got hits, one of which was a 2-run homer. Hundley quickly came out of the bullpen to hopefully quell storm, but the Lancers produced another double and by the time the inning was over Cal Baptist was up 6-0. The Lancers used a 3-run homer in the second inning to scoot out to a 9-0 lead.
As powerful as the Lancers were at the plate, they were as equaling dominating in the pitcher’s circle where Amanda Thomas fired a masterful 1-hitter, yielding only a first-inning single to Justine Barnett before retiring the final 14 Cougars when the game ended on the mercy rule in the fifth inning.
With the double setbacks, Azusa Pacific falls to 8-10 on the season, 0-4 in the GSAC. Cal Baptist improves to 21-1 overall, 4-0 in the GSAC.