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Last At-Bat Heros

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February 21, 2003
Gary Pine
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AZUSA, Calif.Jennie Waleszonia’s suicide squeeze and Megan Alkire’s 2-out triple lifted the NAIA’s No. 22-ranked Azusa Pacific to identical 3-2 victories and a nonconference sweep of UC San Diego this evening at Cougar Field.

With the sweep, the Cougars run their winning streak to 9 straight and improve to 10-1 overall for the best start in program history. Meanwhile UC San Diego falls to 7-6 overall.

Alkire’s bomb to the wall in right-center scored pinch runner Crissy Butler from second-base and give the Cougars an improbable comeback victory.

The Triton broke open a scoreless second game with a Kristin Hunstad triple that scored Amy Mettee and Mieko McCue to give UCSD a 2-0 lead in the fifth. And they way freshman Stephanie Kurz was pitching in her collegiate debut, it appeared the Cougars didn’t have much of a chance for a comeback.

However, in the bottom of the fifth Azusa Pacific scored 2 unearned runs to knot the game at 2-2. With Alkire already at first, Waleszonia reached on a 2-out infield single to apparently put runners at first and second. However, Triton first baseman Jaime Hurst tried to throw behind Alkire to pick her off as she rounded second, but her throw sailed into an unmanned left field and rolled all the way to the wall allowing both Alkire and Waleszonia to circle the bases and score.

UCSD still had an opportunity to retake the lead when Jennifer Leonard tripled to center to start the seventh inning. After Nikki Anderson walked to put runners and first and third, Cougar sophomore pitcher Nicole Hendrix came on in relief and induced 2 ground out and a strike out to end the threat and strand the runners. For her effort Hendrix picked up her second win against 1 loss this season.

In the first game, Waleszonia’s 1-out suicide squeeze plated Cassie Lakey to lift Azusa Pacific to a 3-2 victory in 8 innings. Lakey opened the inning at second base and was sacrificed over to third by Alkire. Then with 2 strikes on her, Waleszonia dropped a punt toward Triton pitcher Keri Hanley, who turned and threw to first instead of home plate, allowing Lakey to score the game-winning run.

Cougar sophomore pitcher Rachel Alkire, Megan’s twin sister, went the distance to pick up her second victory in as many decisions this season, striking out 3 in the process. Alkire constantly danced out of trouble in the early innings, stranding Tritons and second and third base in both the second and third innings and benefiting from Cassi Sweeney gunning down Metee at the plate for the final out of the first inning.

In all UCSD left 8 runners on base, 6 of them in scoring position.

Rachel Alkire helped herself at the plate as well with a leadoff triple in the fourth inning. Sasha Budde’s sharp single to left sent Alkire home to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead at the time. UCSD tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the sixth when Mieko McCue singled home Mettee, who had just stolen third base, one of the Tritons’ 7 steals in the game.