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Early Offense Keys Softball Sweep

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Photo by Joe Reinsch
Senior catcher Jac Harkey hit a solo home run in the second game of Azusa Pacific's 4-1, 6-1 doubleheader sweep of Biola Tuesday afternoon.

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February 26, 2013
Joe Reinsch
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LA MIRADA, Calif. -- With four-run first-inning outbursts in both games of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Biola to make up last week’s rained-out games, Azusa Pacific tallied its first doubleheader sweep of the season by posting 4-1 and 6-1 victories over the Eagles.

After senior pitcher Rita Kim knocked in two runs to cap a four-run first in the opener, she went out and fired a complete-game one-hitter on the heels of a two-hit shutout she threw Saturday. It’s also her second consecutive trip to Biola that has resulted in a one-hit outing after she closed out the 2012 regular season with five innings of one-hit ball last year.

The third hitter she faced, Bria Madrid, singled to left, but Kim retired 14 hitters in a row before issuing a leadoff walk in the sixth inning to Chelsea Limm, which was followed by consecutive errors that allowed Lim to score an unearned run. That was the only blemish for Kim, who struck out three of the final six batters she faced to close out the victory.

Kim finished the game with eight strikeouts, her fifth consecutive outing with seven or more strikeouts, and she surrendered only one walk while allowing another to reach on a hit by pitch.

The first three Cougar batters each singled in the top of the first inning, and Kim’s two-out single to right-center capped a four-run first inning that held up the rest of the way. Azusa Pacific was held hitless over the next five innings by Sarah Enriquez, who replaced starting pitcher CeCe Luster following the four-run opening frame. Freshman Jessica Melcher added a seventh-inning single off a different Eagles reliever, Sam Roberts.

In the second game, the Cougars scored another four runs in the first inning, this time off Enriquez. Senior centerfielder Angie Sprague scored from third after her one-out triple, and Madison Hernandez, Rachel Miller, and Renae Chappelle each drove in a run on three consecutive hits.

The Cougars added runs in the fifth and sixth innings on solo home runs from Hernandez and senior catcher Jac Harkey. Senior pitcher Taryn Devich took care of the rest, tossing five scoreless innings with four strikeouts and no walks. Senior Mariah Worley threw the final two innings, with Biola scoring an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh to avoid being shut out.

Hernandez was three-for-four in the second game and finished the day with team-highs of three runs and three RBIs. Sprague and sophomore second baseman Katrina Oviedo were the only two Azusa Pacific batters to hit safely in both games of the twinbill.

With the sweep, Azusa Pacific improves to 8-6 overall heading into another non-conference matchup Saturday with Vanguard. Biola falls to 4-12 on the year.