AZUSA, Mo. – The NAIA’s No. 14-ranked Columbia (Mo.) College flexed its muscle with home runs in each game to sweep a nonconference doubleheader from Azusa Pacific, beating the Cougars 4-2 and 2-1, at the Cougar Softball Complex Thursday evening.
In the nightcap, Valerie Teeter slugged her second home run of the season, a 2-out, 2-run, 0-2 shot to deep leftfield, taking advantage of Cougar pitcher Erin Halma’s only mistake of the night and assure the lone sweep for Columbia during its 3-day, 6-game swing through Southern California.
Halma was dazzling in an otherwise strong performance, yielding just 4 hits to Columbia while striking out a season-high 6. At one point she retired 11 of 12 batters (one reached on an error).
The Cougars threatened in the fifth inning, loading the bases and eventually scoring its lone run when Camille Hundley was hit by a pitch to send Nicole Llorens home. Natalie Mickelson followed with a shot up the middle that was snared for the final out of the inning to end the threat.
In the opener, Columbia got to Hundley, Azusa Pacific’s pitching ace. Ashley Farmer led off the second inning with her team-leading sixth home run of the season. Teter’s 1-out single to left scored Kensie Canvanah to double Columbia’s lead in the third inning.
After Columbia assumed a 3-0 lead in the top of the fifth, Azusa Pacific answered on Cassie Treischel’s 2-out double to left-center field that scored Bethany Weisser and Jen Whitten to pull the Cougars to within a run.
Azusa Pacific put runners on base in the sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t push them across, and Columbia added an insurance run in the seventh on Sam Stringer’s 1-out triple that plated Cavanah.
Treischel finished the day 3-for-7 with 2 RBIs, while Whitten went 2-for-6 with a run scored to raise her batting average to a season-high .255. Since being dropped to the bottom of the line-up nearly 2 weeks ago, Whitten is batting .476 (10-for-21) with 6 RBIs, a double and a triple.
With the double setback, Azusa Pacific falls to 15-16 while Columbia improves to 18-6.