FULLERTON, Calif. -- Sophomore OF Heather Koch had 3 hits, including a pair of doubles, and 3 RBIs, and sophomore pitcher Taryn Devich allowed 3 runs over 7.2 innings of work to pick up a win and a save as the NAIA’s No. 19-ranked Azusa Pacific swept a Golden State Athletic Conference doubleheader from Hope International University, 7-3 and 6-5, at Craig Park.
Koch, who had just 1 hit in 19 games during her 2010 rookie season and was seldom used through the opening half of the 2011 campaign, may be the hottest hitter on the team now. Since being inserted into the starting line-up on a regular-basis 2 weeks ago, Koch is batting .304 with 4 RBIs and 3 doubles, including 2 today that pushed across key runs for Azusa Pacific.
In the opening game she went 2-for-4 with a single in a 3-run Cougar fourth inning that broke open the game and put Azusa Pacific up 5-2. With 2 outs in the seventh, she knocked in an insurance run with a double to left field that scored Brandi Andrews.
In the nightcap, Koch again produced with 2 outs in the seventh inning, lacing another double by going the opposite way to right field to score Bekah Weisser and Erika Marmolejo with what proved to be some much needed insurance runs that put the Cougars up 6-2.
Hope International answered in the bottom of the seventh with 3 straight 1-out hits and rallied to within a run at 6-5. However, Devich, this week’s GSAC Pitcher of the Week who came out of the bullpen after throwing 7 innings in the first game, got Michelle Rivas to foul out to first base to leave the tying run at second base, end the threat, and pick up her first collegiate save. It preserved Azusa Pacific’s 17th consecutive win over the Royals. Mariah Worley picked up the win, striking out 3 and walking none in 6.1 innings of work to push her record to a team-best 8-5 on the season.
Marmolejo had a terrific day at the plate as well, going 4-for-6 with 2 RBIs, 2 runs and a double to raise her batting average to .306 on the season.
The Cougars swiped 8 bases without being caught, including 3 by team-leader Angie Sprague, who now has 19 stolen bases on the year.
With the sweep Azusa Pacific improves to 23-17 on the season, 8-6 in the GSAC. Hope International falls to 14-25 overall, 2-12 in the GSAC.