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Pocket Aces

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Junior pitcher Taryn Devich threw a five-inning two-hit shutout in Azusa Pacific's 8-0 opening-game win over Menlo.

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Published
March 6, 2012
By
Joe Reinsch
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AZUSA, Calif. -- A pair of scoreless five-inning starts by junior pitchers Taryn Devich and Mariah Worley led the NAIA’s No. 11-ranked Azusa Pacific to an 8-0, 6-4 doubleheader sweep over Menlo Tuesday afternoon in Azusa.

Devich threw a five-inning two-hitter, as the Cougar offense clinched a mercy-rule win in the opener on senior shortstop Natalie Barnaby’s two-run double to left with one out in the bottom of the fifth. In the second game, Worley also went five innings allowing just two hits, leaving the game with a 4-0 lead that was extended to 6-0 in the bottom of the sixth before Menlo rallied to score four in the seventh.

That four-run frame snapped a streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings put together by the Cougar pitching staff, a run that started with the final two innings of a 6-2 victory over No. 12-ranked Bethel (Ind.) on Feb. 29. Since then, junior pitcher Rita Kim fired a five-inning no-hitter against Felician, which was followed by Worley’s two-hit shutout, also in five innings in the second game of that doubleheader, along with the scoreless five-inning starts in both of today’s games.

On Tuesday, Kim set down the side in order in the sixth inning to extend the scoreless streak to 23 innings, but Menlo combined three hits with two walks and a Cougar error to finally break the scoring drought.

Barnaby finished with five hits in six at-bats on the day, including a three-for-three effort in the opener which included the game-winning double along with a pair of triples. Junior centerfielder Angie Sprague was also three-for-three in the opener, and she followed both Barnaby triples with base hits to collect a pair of RBIs.

Devich struck out five, and both hits she gave up came in the first three innings. She struck out the side in the fourth inning, and she got three infield groundouts as she retired the final eight batters she faced. Azusa Pacific’s lead entering the fifth inning was just 4-0, but after Menlo retired the leadoff hitter in the inning, the next six Cougars reached base safely, with Barnaby’s double bringing in the game-clinching score for the mercy-rule win.

Worley registered three strikeouts in the second game, and Menlo didn’t tally its first hit until the fourth inning. The Cougars sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning, using six hits to plate four runs. Senior first baseman Erika Marmolejo brought in the final two runs with a one-out sixth-inning single.

With the sweep, Azusa Pacific improves to 18-4 overall, while Menlo drops to 5-13. The Cougars traveled to Arizona after the game, where they will play another four games in two days at the Tucson Invitational before returning home to play Webster (Mo.) University at home on Saturday.