AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific tied its season-long winning streak at four games with a 2-0 victory over Vanguard in the opening game of a non-conference doubleheader Saturday, but the Cougars couldn’t solve the Lions’ pitching ace Taylor Doyle in a 4-1 defeat in the second game to split for the third time in five doubleheaders this season.
In the opener, freshman starter Narissa Garcia and senior Taryn Devich combined on a seven-hit shutout while the Cougar bats generated single runs in the third and fifth inning of the victory. Garcia navigated 5.1 innings around seven hits while striking out three, and Devich got out of the sixth-inning jam she inherited and retired the side in order in the seventh to preserve the win and earn the save.
Sophomore second baseman Katrina Oviedo drove in both runs in the opener, first drawing blood in the bottom of the third inning with a line drive sacrifice fly to score pinch-runner Erica Taft from third base. The Cougars loaded the bases with one out prior to Oviedo’s lineout starting with Garcia helping her cause by drawing a one-out walk.
In the fifth, Oviedo hit a two-out double to left-center, scoring senior Heather Koch all the way from first base to push the lead to 2-0. The Cougars collected eight hits in the opening game, including two from Koch, who batted leadoff in the game. Koch was two-for-four on the game, and eight of Azusa Pacific’s nine hitters hit safely or drew a walk in the game.
The second game was a different story altogether, as senior shortstop Rachel Miller’s fifth-inning solo home run proved to be the Cougars’ only score and one of just four hits in the game off Vanguard freshman pitching ace Taylor Doyle.
The Lions struck first with three hits that led to a run in the first inning, and they made it a 2-0 game with Kim Skoglund’s one-out double in the fourth inning that scored Adriana Venezia from first base. Miller answered with a high fly ball down the left field line that cleared the fence for a solo home run, Miller’s first of the year, to cut Vanguard’s lead to 2-1. The Lions extended the lead to 4-1 with two more runs in the seventh off Rita Kim, and Azusa Pacific got just one batter on base in the seventh as Doyle finished off her complete-game four-hitter.
With the split, Azusa Pacific is now 9-7 overall heading into the resumption of Pacific West Conference play with back-to-back doubleheaders against Holy Names on Monday and Tuesday next week. Vanguard is now 12-11 overall, keeping its winning record after Saturday’s split along with a 7-2, 8-1 Friday sweep over Holy Names.