COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific dropped both games of a non-conference doubleheader on the road at Vanguard Wednesday afternoon. The Lions posted a five-inning 8-0 opening-game win before edging past the Cougars in the seventh inning for a 3-2 victory in game two.
The Cougars started the opener by loading the bases with no outs, but Vanguard pitcher Rachel Stalford struck out consecutive hitters before getting out of trouble with an inning-ending groundout. That started a run of 10 consecutive hitters retired by Stalford, and by that time the Lions had built a 5-0 lead. Stalford’s five-hit, six-strikeout performance sealed the victory for Vanguard, which added three more in the bottom of the fifth to end the game by mercy rule.
In game two, the Cougars took one-run leads by scoring once in the third and once in the sixth, but both times Vanguard answered to tie the game. In the bottom of the seventh, a pair of Azusa Pacific errors led to an unearned game-winning run that completed a 3-2 Vanguard win.
Freshman rightfielder Abry Moreno collected the Cougars’ first hit of the second game with a one-out triple to left center, and she scored the game’s first run on junior second baseman Katrina Oviedo’s single. In the sixth inning, Azusa Pacific again loaded the bases with no outs, and Moreno drew a one-out walk to push the Cougars in front, 2-1, although Vanguard limited the damage to just the lone run with consecutive groundouts.
Vanguard put together a two-out rally in the sixth to tie the game at 2-2 after back-to-back singles led to a two-out error, and the Lions also won the game with two outs in the seventh.
Moreno tallied two of Azusa Pacific’s five hits in the opener, and sophomore designated player Janelle Eccles had a two-hit game in the nightcap to lead the Cougar offense. Moreno was one-for-one with three walks in game two.
Wednesday’s defeats dropped Azusa Pacific to 37-17 overall, while Vanguard improves to 32-20. The Cougars will wrap up the regular season with a return home to wrap up conference play on Monday, April 21, with a doubleheader against BYU-Hawaii.