AZUSA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific won the first three games of its four-game Pacific West Conference softball series with Holy Names by a combined 19-2 margin, including a pair of 8-0 mercy-rule victories, but the Hawks scored the game-winning run in the seventh inning to pick up a split of Tuesday’s doubleheader with a 2-1 victory over the Cougars.
Senior pitcher Taryn Devich retired the first nine batters she faced in a complete-game four-hit shutout in the opener, and freshman pitcher Narissa Garcia only gave up two hits in the nightcap.
Azusa Pacific left eight runners on base in an 8-0 win in six innings to open the day’s twinbill, although senior centerfielder Angie Sprague led the Cougars’ 12-hit attack with a three-for-four, three-run performance from the leadoff spot. Senior rightfielder Brandi Andrews was two-for-two with a run and an RBI, and freshman third baseman Madison Hernandez went two-for-three with two RBIs.
Sprague got the game started with a leadoff bunt single, and after stealing second and third bases scored the game’s first run on Katrina Oviedo’s sacrifice fly. In the third, Sprague hit a one-out double to left-center to spark a four-run inning highlighted by Rachel Miller’s bases-clearing two-out double that pushed the Cougars’ lead to 5-0 after three innings.
Andrews hit a two-out run-scoring single in a two-run fourth inning, extending the gap to 7-0, and Hernandez doubled to right-center with two runners on base in the sixth to drive in the game-clinching run for the 8-0 mercy-rule win.
In the second game, Holy Names converted a leadoff double from Alexis Moctezuma into the game’s first run when Moctezuma raced all the way around from second to score on Hailey McGuigan’s well-placed sacrifice bunt that pulled the Cougar catcher off the plate to field the bunt.
After Moctezuma’s leadoff double, Garcia retired 18 of the next 20 batters she faced, all without giving up a hit until the seventh inning when Cindy Palmares drove in the game-winning run with a one-out single down the third-base line just underneath the glove of Hernandez, the Azusa Pacific third baseman.
Nicole Ochoa scattered one run on four hits with three strikeouts for the win, but she ran into trouble in the seventh after she hit a batter with one out to put the potential tying run on base. Ochoa got the second out when Jac Harkey lined out to left field, and Ochoa ended the game with a strikeout, her third of the evening.
Oviedo ran her hitting streak to 11 games with hits in both games of the doubleheader, and she was one of four Azusa Pacific hitters to finish with a three-hit day between both games of the doubleheader.
After the split, Azusa Pacific is now 12-8 overall and 4-4 in the PacWest. Holy Names, which snapped a 12-game losing streak with a victory over California Baptist last Saturday, now snaps another losing streak of three games to improve to 3-23 overall and 2-4 in PacWest play. The Cougars don’t play again until next week, when they host Dominican on Monday, March 11.