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Simon Says Cougars are Good

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Published
February 25, 2008
By
Gary Pine
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AZUSA, Calif. – Freshman Bekah Weisser batted in 4 runs and junior pitcher Camille Hundley fired the biggest shutout of her collegiate career as unranked Azusa Pacific upset the NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Simon Fraser University (B.C.), 7-0, in a single game played at the Cougar Softball Complex Monday afternoon.

The victory is stunning on several fronts given that Simon Fraser is a 3-time NAIA national champion while Azusa Pacific is coming off 4 straight seasons of no postseason play and its first losing campaign (15-25) in 13 years. In addition the Cougars, who came into the game batting just .258 on the season, banged out 9 hits off 3 different Clan pitchers.

Azusa Pacific wasted no time taking control of the game. After Hundley struck out 3 Clan in the first inning, the Cougars lit up the scoreboard in their first at-bat with Natalie Mickelson’s 2-out single to right field that plated Cassie Treischel.

The Cougars then put the pressure on SFU with 3 more runs in the bottom of the second to scoot out to a 4-0 advantage. A Weisser single scored Erin Halma from second to double the Cougar advantage. A ground out scored another run, and when SFU shortstop Christine Barr bobbled a grounder, Weisser came home with the inning’s third run.

Azusa Pacific showed no let up at the plate and scored 2 more runs in the bottom of the third when Weisser looped a 2-out single that Clan rightfielder Chrissy Caviglia short-hopped, allowing Erin Halma and Bethany Weisser to score and put Azusa Pacific up 6-0.

The Cougars added an insurance run in the fifth inning on Bekah Weisser’s sacrifice fly to right field that scored Halma, who led off the inning with a double to right-centerfield.

Yet, the way Hundley was pitching, the Cougars didn’t need any insurance. The junior hurler struck out a career-high 8, including 5 in the first 2 innings of play.

“I threw inside a lot today,” said Hundley, “and my drops, screws and rise were working really well. I’ve probably pitched better in other games because I got tired late in this game, but this win means a lot to us. We’re right up there, and we can hang with the tough teams.”

Twice Simon Fraser put 2 runners on to start innings, but each time Hundley escaped, striking out a pair of Clan to get out of a second-inning jam and then relying on Cougar leftfielder Nicole Llorens to snag back-to-back line drives to thwart a Clan sixth-inning threat.

“This is a confidence booster for me,” said Hundley, who improves to 4-1 on the season while lowering her ERA to 0.23. “I can still be mentally tough and get through difficult situations when I’m fatigued.”

Weisser finished the game 2-for-2 with 4 RBIS and a run scored, while Halma went 3-for-3 with 3 runs scored to highlight the Cougar offense.

“Coming into this game I was confident that we’d score runs,” said first-year Azusa Pacific head coach Carrie Webber. “I’m not sure I thought we’d score 7, but there was no doubt in my mind that we’d hit. The girls put in a lot of time the past week in their hitting, and I knew it was going to be a good day.”

The victory is Azusa Pacific’s first over a Top 10-ranked team since the Cougars downed No. 6 Point Loma Nazarene University, 8-5, to close out the 2005 campaign.

“I think this can be a launching point for us,” said Webber. “We’re taking little steps to becoming a better and more confident team. These girls will do just about anything put in front of them, and it’s exciting.

The Cougars improves to 6-3 on the season, while the loss sums up a season-opening weekend washed away for Simon Fraser. Of the 7 games scheduled for the Clan this past weekend, 6 were rained out.