RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 1-ranked and defending national champion California Baptist used a pair of 3-run innings to break 1-1 ties and post identical 4-1 victories in a Golden State Athletic Conference sweep of Azusa Pacific Tuesday evening.
The Lancers, who pushed their winning streak to 18 straight, relied on a pair of home runs to account for all 4 of their runs in the first game. Kendall Gorham crushed a 2-out solo shot in the first inning to give Cal Baptist a quick 1-0 lead.
Azusa Pacific knotted the game on Erika Marmolejo’s run-scoring single that plated Olivia Wilcox in the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Tina Galinato crushed a Rita Kim offering over the right-centerfield fence for a 3-run home run and the difference in the game.
Azusa Pacific had opportunities to score but left 5 runners in scoring position, including one each in the sixth and seventh innings.
Kim suffered the loss and falls to 4-5 on the season, despite allowing just 5 hits and striking out 5 in 6 innings of work.
As they did in the first game, the Lancers got on the board first in the second game by way of a solo home run, a second-inning, 1-out shot by Mara Rodriguez, her ninth of the season.
Again the Cougars tied the game at 1-1, and again Marmolejo was in the mix. Her fourth-inning leadoff single up the middle was followed by a pair of sacrifice bunts that moved her to third base. An Angie Sprague single, her second of 3 in the game, sent Marmolejo home to tie the game.
However, the Lancers answered in their half of the fourth, and again with 3 runs. Three doubles and a single pushed Cougar starting pitcher Mariah Worley out of the game.
Rodriguez had the second of the 3 doubles, a gapper to right-center that scored pinch-runner Andie Banuelos with the go-ahead run.
The Cougars threatened in the seventh with a pair of singles to start the inning, but All-GSAC pitcher Tory Ferreira retired the next 3 Cougars to preserve the win and move her record to 10-0 on the season.
The Cougars matched Cal Baptist’s offensive out-put with 12 hits through the 2 games. For the doubleheader Sprague and Marmolejo each had 3 hits, and Natalie Barnaby had 2.
With the sweep, Cal Baptist improves to 35-1 on the season, while Azusa Pacific falls to 15-13. The Cougars return to action Saturday (March 26) with a GSAC doubleheader at home against Hope International. The first pitch is scheduled for noon.