AZUSA, Calif. – Azusa Pacific put in 18 innings and nearly 6 hours of work to come up with a split of its nonconference doubleheader with the NAIA’s No. 17-ranked Cal State San Marcos. The Cougars won the first game, 8-7 in 11 innings, before Cal State San Marcos came back to take the nightcap, 9-3.
The Cougars produced a constant series of clutch hits to out-distance CS San Marcos and take the opener, but an abandonment of their gloves cost them the second game in which CSUSM parlayed 5 Cougar errors into 8 unearned runs.
Junior Nicole Llorens’ 2-out single up the middle scored Angie Sprague from the second base to end a 3-hour first-game marathon in which Azusa Pacific rallied from a 5-0 deficit and then scored single runs in the bottom of the eighth and ninth to continually extend the game.
Bekah Weisser’s 2-out, bases-clearing triple off the leftfield wall capped a 5-run fifth to knot the game at 5-all. Freshman pitcher Taryn Devich then stepped into the spotlight, allowing just 2 hits in 6.2 innings of relief work to quiet CSUSM bats that had collected 12 hits in the first 4 innings of plays
Sophomore Erika Marmolejo’s 2-out infield single scored pinch-runner Rachel Miller to re-tie the game at 6-6. After CS San Marcos again took the lead at 7-6 in the top of the ninth, the Cougars answered once more when Natalie Barnaby knocked a 1-out single through the middle to score Adrianna Martinez and move the game into the tenth, tied again at 7-7.
Devich got out of bases-loaded, 1-out jam unscathed in the tenth inning, registering 1 of her 7 strikeouts in the game, and then retired CSUSM in order in the 11th to set up Llorens’ game-winning hit.
In the second game, CS San Marcos took advantage of inning-opening Cougar fielding errors in the first, second and sixth innings to score 3 runs in each frame and run away for the victory. Though the Cougars answered with a pair of first-inning runs to start the game, they really never had a chance in light of their fielding miscues.
The Cougars had 10 hits in the game but could never come up with the critical safety, leaving 6 runners in scoring position throughout the game.
Sprague enjoyed the best twinbill of her young college career, collecting 5 hits on the night to go along with 4 runs scored. Barnaby was 4-for-8, while All-GSAC Erin Halma had 2 hits and 2 RBIs, both of which came in the second game. Weisser went 2-for-8 with a double to go along with her triple and 3 RBIs.
On the night, Devich worked 11 innings without giving up an earned run and striking out 8 to run her record to 3-0 with a 0.37 to start her college career.
With the split, Azusa Pacific moves to 4-2 on the season while Cal State San Marcos suffers its first defeat and falls to 5-1.