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Overmatched then Overwhelmed

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March 11, 2008
Gary Pine
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AZUSA, Calif. – Try at it might, Azusa Pacific just couldn’t match the overall talent of the NAIA’s No. 2-ranked California Baptist University. The Cougars tried its best to go toe-to-toe, and they did for awhile, before wilting under the relentless pressure applied by Lancer bats and pitchers.

Cal Baptist swept Azusa Pacific, 8-0 and 11-0, in a Golden State Athletic Conference doubleheader Tuesday evening at the Cougar Softball Complex, using late-inning explosions in both games to blow open relatively close contests.

Cougar pitchers Camille Hundley and Jeanette Murad performed admirably in the circle and gave Azusa Pacific opportunities to stay in the game. In fact, in the opener, Hundley, the Cougar ace of the staff, was dazzling through the first 3 innings, allowing just 1 hit while striking out 3. Yet, in the fourth inning the Lancers took advantage of a Cougar mental mistake – unsuccessfully forcing a runner at second base on a hit-and-run – and then scored the game’s first run on a passed ball. Hundley should have been out of the inning unscathed, but the Lancers doubled the score at 2-0 on Karina Slauenwhite’s 2-out single to left.

That was enough of a cushion for Lancer hurler Amy Thomas, who scattered 4 Cougar hits and struck out 5 in her 7 innings of work. She allowed just one Cougar runner to third base, and that lasted for about 2 seconds after the Lancers cut down Natalie Mickelson, who had just singled but was thrown out between first and second base to end the inning.

The Lancers parlayed a pair of Cougar errors and a Slauenwhite 3-run home run to left, her second of the season, to get to a tiring Hundley and register a 5-run seventh inning, running away from the Cougars in the process.

In the nightcap, Cougar pitcher Erin Halma never had a chance. The Lancers scored the game’s first run without the benefit of a hit, turning a leadoff error into an eventual 1-0 lead. They then touched up Halma and reliever Sarah Moore for 4 more runs in the third inning, stealing 4 bases in the frame, including Chantel Millard’s theft of home that put Cal Baptist up 5-0.

Enter the freshman Murad who promptly retired the first 5 Lancers she faced and 11 of the first 12 to restore some semblance of order and give Azusa Pacific a chance to compete for a comeback. But like Hundley, Murad tired as well and the wheels fell off with 1 out in the seventh inning. CBU cashed in a walk, a hit batsman and 5 hits, including back-to-back doubles, to score 6 runs and race out to an 11-0 advantage. Caty Reeves’ 1-out single to left highlighted the outburst.

The Cougars mustered another 4 hits in the nightcap off Lancer pitcher Melanie Ahumada, but only 1 runner made it as far as second base the entire game.

For the night, Cal Baptist scored 20 runs on 19 hits. Slauenwhite was a combined 2-for-6 with 4 RBIs, all coming in the first game. Sara Goforth was 3-for-7 with 3 runs and an RBI.

For Azusa Pacific, Erika Navarrete was 2-for-6, with a single in each game, while Halma went 2-for-3 in the second game.

With the sweep, Cal Baptist has now won 16 straight over Azusa Pacific and improves to 24-2 on the season, 6-0 in the GSAC. Azusa Pacific falls to 9-12 overall, 2-4 in the GSAC.