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Splitting On The Dock Of The Bay

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Photo by Holly Magnuson
Sophomore Narissa Garcia hit her first career home run and tossed her first career shutout in the Cougars' 4-0 win in the opening game of a doubleheader split at Notre Dame de Namur.

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March 14, 2014
Joe Reinsch
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BELMONT, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific solved its opening-game struggles with sophomore Narissa Garcia’s complete-game shutout in a 4-0 win in the first game of a Friday doubleheader at Notre Dame de Namur, but the Cougars weren’t able to duplicate the effort in a 3-0 defeat in the nightcap.

The split was the sixth in a row in Pacific West Conference play for Azusa Pacific, which picked up its 20th overall victory of the season with the Game 1 win before finishing the day at 20-9 overall and 9-7 in conference play.

Garcia scattered six hits and four walks while striking out three to post her first career shutout, and she added her first career home run with a fifth-inning solo shot. Freshman third baseman Nicki Sprague was two-for-two with two doubles, two runs, and a walk in the victory, and she registered another two hits in three at-bats in Game 2 to lift her team-leading season batting average to .560 with her four-hit day.

Sophomore shortstop Madison Hernandez added a pair of hits in the opener, while freshman rightfielder Abry Moreno and sophomore first baseman Jessica Melcher did the same in Game 2.

In the first game, the Cougars got on the board with a two-out rally in the second inning. Junior centerfielder Renae Chappelle’s two-out single was followed by a walk, and junior second baseman Desiree Chavez brought in the game’s first run with a two-out RBI single. An inning later, Sprague doubled and scored on a one-out single from Hernandez to extend the lead to 2-0. Garcia homered in the fifth, making it 3-0, and later in the inning Sprague doubled again and eventually scored by taking home plate when junior leftfielder Sona Babayan drew a throw to second on a stolen base attempt.

Garcia stranded nine NDNU baserunners in the game, escaping back-to-back bases-loaded jams in the second and third innings.

In the second game, the roles reversed, as Azusa Pacific left the bases loaded in the first inning and NDNU took the early lead on Lindsay Handy’s second-inning solo home run. Handy finished the day three-for-three with two RBIs to pace the Argonauts’ eight-hit attack.

Through the first six innings, Azusa Pacific had either the first or second hitter of the inning on base safely, but NDNU pitcher Shelby Reali worked her way out of each situation to pick up her own complete-game shutout.

The Cougars wrap up their three-day, six-game Bay Area road trip with another doubleheader against Notre Dame de Namur on Saturday, March 15.