AZUSA, Calif. – Opportunity knocked but Azusa Pacific didn’t answer the door.
The Cougars got quality pitching, moved base runners into scoring position, and down south got a much-needed Hope International victory over Vanguard. None of it, however, really mattered because the Cougars could not produce clutch hits. As a result, Biola University swept a Golden State Athletic Conference doubleheader from Azusa Pacific, beating the Cougars 1-0 and 3-2.
Azusa Pacific left 16 runners on base during the double setback, including 9 in scoring position. Any 1 hit in each game at the right time would have given the Cougars a pair of victories and 2 huge strides in front of Vanguard toward a playoff berth. However, the Cougars could not cash in.
In the opening game Eagle pitcher Lyndsie Roberts 3-hit Azusa Pacific for her second complete-game shutout of the season. She also provided the game’s only run with a sacrifice fly to right field that plated Krista Johnson in the second inning. Roberts made the lone run stand up, though twice the Cougars had her on the ropes. In both the fourth and fifth innings, Azusa Pacific put runners and second and third. However, Roberts wiggled out of each jam, using a strike out and a pair of grounders to return to the dugout both times sweating but still unscathed.
Hard-luck Cougar pitcher Camille Hundley was handed her third 1-0 setback of the season. Back-to-back singles by Krista Johnson and Keena Levert to lead off the second inning proved to be her downfall with Johnson eventually scoring on the Roberts sacrifice fly.
In the second game, Jen Whitten greeted Biola relever Erika Moyer with a 2-out single to left field that pushed Bethany Weisser home and give Azusa Pacific a 2-1 lead in the second inning.
However, Biola answered in its next at-bat, tying the game on Roberts’ 2-out infield single that scored Jacqie Hudson. The Eagles then scored the game-winner in the fourth inning on Hudson’s 2-out double to the centerfield wall that plated Sara Jensen. That was enough for Moyer, who yielded just 2 hits over her final 5 innings of work.
The Cougars had chances to score, loading the bases in the second inning but coming away with just 1 run and then putting runners at third in the third inning and at second in the sixth, but neither time could they produce a game-tying hit.
The Cougars are now in a virtual tie with Biola for third place in the GSAC. The Cougars, who are 20-25 overall, are now 10-12 in the GSAC. Biola moves to 23-21 overall, 9-11 in the GSAC. The eventual team that finishes third in the GSAC is likely to get a playoff berth. Biola, which has now won 5 straight, closes the regular season against the NAIA’s No. 2-ranked Point Loma Nazarene University and GSAC cellar-dweller Hope International.
The Cougars close out the regular season at Concordia University Tuesday (April 22).