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Cougars Get Offensive

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March 15, 2010
Gary Pine
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ORANGE, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific slugged a pair of home runs, scored 13 runs on 27 hits, and as a result cruised to pair of victories at the Sun West Tournament Monday afternoon, beating Kenyon College (Ohio), 9-0, and Hastings College (Neb.), 4-1.

All-GSAC senior Erin Halma led the Cougars in every possible facet of the game.

As a pitcher in the first game, she fired 6 innings of 3-hit shutout softball, striking out 3 Ladies in the process while not walking a batter. At the plate, she was 2-for-4 with a run scored during the Cougars’ 6-run seventh-inning that blew open the game.

Sophomore shortstop Leslie-Anne Picone provided all the offense Halma needed, enjoying the best game of her career by going 3-for-4 with a run and 2 RBIs. Her 1-out double to the left-center gap in the second inning led to the game’s first run when she later scored on an error. She then singled home Erika Marmolejo to put the Cougars up 2-0 in the fourth inning.

After Azusa Pacific pushed its lead to 3-0 in the sixth, and the Cougars erupted in the seventh with 7 hits, including freshman Rachel Miller’s first college home run, a 2-run shot down the leftfield line that ignited the 6-run inning. The Cougars strung together 4 straight hits to chase Kenyon pitcher Jamie Samuel from her first collegiate start in the circle. Picone capped the onslaught with her third hit of the game, another RBI single to center that scored Lindsey Clark.

With the victory, Halma improved to 4-2 on the season.

In the victory over Hastings, Halma’ bat was just as good as her pitching in the first game. She went 4-for-4, all singles, with an RBI and a run scored. In fact, she scored the game’s first run when she led off the third inning with a single up the middle. She then came home on Jac Harkey’s 2-out single through the left side.

In the next inning, Halma’s single to right scored Rita Kim to put the Cougars up 2-0. The Cougars added another run later in the inning before Harkey capped Azusa Pacific’s scoring with her team-leading third home run of the season, a solo shot to left-center to lead off the fifth.

Hastings answered with their own solo home run in the sixth inning, but it was the only run that freshman pitcher Mariah Worley allowed, as she too matched Halma’s effort in the circle with a 3-hit gem, striking out 6 in the process to move to 2-1 on the season.

Halma finished her day’s work 6-for-8 at the plate with 2 runs scored and a stolen base to boot. Five other Cougars had 3 hits on the day, including freshman Angie Sprague, whose 10-for-15 effort over the past games has raised her season batting average to .329, and junior Bekah Weisser.

With the 2 victories, the Cougars improve to 15-11 on the season, and return to GSAC play Tuesday with a conference doubleheader at Biola University at 2 p.m.

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