AZUSA, Calif. -- Freshman Lindsey Clark enjoyed the finest day of her young collegiate career to lead Azusa Pacific to it fourth doubleheader sweep this season. The Cougars beat Bethany University, 2-0 and 10-2, Thursday afternoon at the Cougar Softball Complex.
Clark, who platoons in leftfield, had the hot bat, going 3-for-5 on the day which included a game-winning triple in the first game. She ripped a shot just inside third base and down the leftfield line to score Nicole Llorens and Erika Marmolejo with no outs in the fifth inning.
That was enough offensive output for freshman pitcher Rita Kim who was masterful in the circle while picking up her first collegiate win. Kim struck out a career-high 12 batters and allowed just 3 hits in 7 innings of work. She was threatened just once when she walked back-to-back Bruins with 1 out in the fourth inning. However, she found her control again and struck out the next 2 batters to end the inning.
The Cougars didn’t mount much of an offense either, managing just 3 hits of their own, but 2 of them came in that go-ahead fifth inning, when Llorens led off with infield squibbler that just went under the pitcher’s glove. After Marmolejo walked, Clark, who entered the game with just 4 hits on the season, lined her 2-run triple.
In the second game, Clark picked up 2 more hits, including a second-inning infield single that eventually allowed her to score the Cougars’ first run and tie the game at 1-1, but it was another triple that put the Cougars ahead for good in the nightcap.
Llorens led off the bottom of the third with a triple to the left-centerfield wall and came home on a wild pitch to give the Cougars a 3-2 lead. Azusa Pacific used a 3-run fourth inning to blow open the game. Shortstop Leslie-Anne Picone , freshman Brandi Andrews and Llorens all had doubles in the frame with Llorens pushing across Andrews and Angie Sprague to give the Cougars a 6-2 lead.
Azusa Pacific then ended the game with a 4-run fifth inning, taking advantage of a pair of Bruin errors to tally 3 unearned runs. As could be expected, yet another triple was a factor in the outburst when senior Erin Halma led off the inning with a 3-bagger over the centerfielder’s head. Sandwiched by the 2 Bruin errors, Clark doubled, and when Sprague later produced a bunt single, the Cougars had the bases loaded. Llorens walked to score Picone, who had reached on one of the errors, and Natalie Barnaby’s groundout to second plated Andrews with the game-ending run with just 2 outs in the fifth.
Freshman pitcher Mariah Worley picked up the win to move her record to 2-1. Like Kim, Worley allowed just 3 hits in her outing and struck out 4 in 5 innings of work.
Sprague, who had gone just 5-for-23 in the leadoff spot over the previous 8 games, found comfort batting from 9 hole in the second game, going 3-for-3 with a triple, a run and 2 RBIs. Picone was 2-for-3 with 3 runs.
For the twinbill, Llorens was 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and 3 RBIs.
With the sweep, the Cougars, who have never lost to Bethany in 16 previous meetings, improve to 12-10 on the season. Bethany falls to 1-15.