AZUSA, Calif. – Sophomore Jessica Reynolds slugged her first 2 home runs of the season, including a grand slam in the nightcap, to lead the NAIA’s No. 11-ranked Lee University to a sweep of Azusa Pacific University, 4-1 and 8-0, Tuesday evening at the Cougar Softball Complex.
Lee used a pair of 2-out hits to post a come-from-behind victory in the opening game. The Flames had difficulty figuring the offerings of Cougar pitcher Camille Hundley, who dazzled in the circle for 5.2 innings of work on her way to a career-high 10 strikeouts.
Azusa Pacific assumed a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, parlaying Erica Navarrete and Cassie Treischel back-to-back singles and a wild pitch into a run that appeared might stand under the pitching of Hundley.
However, with one swing Reynolds changed the complexion of the game, turning on Hundley’s first offering with 2 outs in the top of the sixth and placing it over the left-center field wall, scoring Tiffany Walker ahead of her to put the Flames up 2-1.
In the seventh, the Cougars were again 1 out from getting out of the inning, but Flames catcher Bobbi Easler ripped a double to wall in right-center field, plating Danielle Balough and Danielle Everett to push the Lee advantage to 4-1.
Azusa Pacific threatened with runners at first and third base in the bottom of the seventh, but Lee pitcher Kylee Krings got Bethany Weisser to fly out to end the game, allowing Krings to improve her record to 4-0 on the season.
In the nightcap, Reynolds broke open a relatively close game with a 1-out grand slam over the center field fence, highlighting a 6-run fifth inning. With the Cougars down 3-0 at the time, Azusa Pacific pitcher Erin Halma was trying to dance out of trouble, but Reynolds deposited her 1-2 pitch to the deepest part of the field to put the Flames up 7-0. After the second Cougar error of the inning, Shay Hinton followed with a triple to the wall in the left-center gap, pushing across another run to give Lee the necessary 8-run lead to end the game.
Azusa Pacific threatened in the bottom of the fifth to keep the game going with 2 runners on base and 2 outs, but Lee pitcher Jessica Kerr, a California native, preserved the shutout by getting a fly out to center field.
Jen Whitten and Bre Anderson, each had 2 hits on the evening, Whitten collecting 2 singles in the first game, while Anderson produced 2 of the Azusa Pacific’s 3 hits in the nightcap.
The 2 home runs where Reynolds’ only hits of the day, but she finished with 6 RBIs. Hinton led the Flames with 3 hits and an RBI.
With the double setback Azusa Pacific has now dropped 4 straight and falls to 6-7 on the season while Lee improves to 11-1.
Azusa Pacific opens Golden State Athletic Conference play Tuesday (March 4) with a 4 p.m. doubleheader against Hope International University at the Cougar Softball Complex.