AZUSA, Calif. – On the verge of a GSAC opening sweep, Azusa Pacific yielded 8 runs in Vanguard’s final 2 at-bats and had to settle for a GSAC-opening split with the rival Lions, winning the first game 6-2 before Vanguard came back to take the night cap 9-2.
Behind the pitching and hitting of Megan Alkire, Azusa Pacific cruised to the opening game victory. As a pitcher, Alkire 4-hit Vanguard and at one point retired 13 straight Lions as the Cougars moved out to a 5-run cushion. At the plate she was 2-for-3 with 1 run scored. She led off the third inning with a triple and came home on her sister Rachel Alkire’s single to center that snapped a 1-1 tie. Sasha Budde then squeezed home Jennie Waleszonia to give the Cougars a 3-1 lead.
Rachel Alkire had another single to centerfield in the fourth inning that plated Megan Carpenter to put the Cougars up 4-1 at the time. In the fifth, Carpenter capped the Azusa Pacific’s scoring with her first home run as a Cougar, a 2-run bomb to left field that also scored Trisha Rico.
In the night cap, Megan Alkire’s second home run of the season, a solo shot to left field in the third inning, gave the Cougars a 2-1 lead that stood through 5 innings of play. However, Vanguard scored 8 runs in its final 2 at-bats, collecting 8 of its 11 hits in the game during the come back. Celina Camarillo’s 1-out single to center scored Beth Burchell and Ashley Mauro to give Vanguard a 3-2 lead it would never relinquish. In the seventh, Vanguard sent 11 batters to plate and collected a trio of extra base hits to go on and post its largest margin of victory over Azusa Pacific since 1989.
For the night, Megan Alkire was 3-for-5 at the plate with 2 runs and an RBI. Rachel Alkire was 3-for-7 with 2 RBIs, while Waleszonia was 2-for-7 with an RBI while improving her hitting streaking to 8 straight.
With the split Azusa Pacific is now 14-4 overall, 1-1 in the GSAC. Vanguard moves to 10-4 overall, 2-3 in the GSAC.