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Nearly Best in the West

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February 2, 2003
Gary Pine
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MODESTO, Calif.Rachel Alkire’s double to left field scored her twin sister Megan Alkire with 1 out in the top of the eighth to propel Azusa Pacific to a 1-0 victory over NCAA Division II power Humboldt State and cap an outstanding 2-day effort in the Best in the West Invitational in Modesto, Calif.

Combined with the Cougars’ 8-0 victory over Notre Dame de Namur earlier in the day, Azusa Pacific finished with a tournament-best 4-1 record. Augustana out of South Dakota was also 4-1 and was crowned tournament champ based on tie-breaking rules.

Against Humboldt State, freshman pitcher Kris Franks made her first collegiate start and was near perfect, stifling the Lumberjacks on 4 hits while striking out 3 in 8 innings of work. With the potential game-tying run at second base to start the eighth inning, Franks got the Lumberjacks in order and in easy fashion to pick up her first collegiate win. She was masterful in the bottom of the seventh when Humboldt State placed runners and second and third with just 1 out and 1 hit away from victory. However, Franks rose to the challenge, inducing a weak grounder to first that forced the runners to stay put and then struck out the next batter to end the threat and force extra innings.

Against Notre Dame Megan Alkire’s second double of the game, a lined shot to left-center, scored Megan Carpenter with 1 out in the bottom of the sixth to clinch an 8-0 mercy-ruled victory over Notre Dame de Namur. The Cougars enjoyed their first blowout of the season, pounding out 13 hits, including 6 for extra bases. Cassie Lakey’s 2-out double to centerfield capped a 4-run fourth inning by scoring Trisha Rico and Carpenter to put the Cougars up 5-0.

The rest was academic as sophomore Michelle Coleman pitched the finest game of her collegiate career, limiting the Argonauts to just 3 singles while striking out 4 and walking none. She got out of a bases-loaded jam unharmed in the fourth inning, Notre Dame’s only threat of the game.

Carpenter finished the game 3-for-3 with an RBI and 3 runs scored. Alkire was 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs.

Megan Alkire and Sasha Budde were named to the all-tournament team. Alkire was 7-for-15 (.467) over the 5-game tournament with 4 RBIs and 2 doubles. Budde was 5-for-14 (.357) with an RBI and a run scored. As a team, the Cougars batted .308 during the tournament while fashioning a 1.93 ERA.