AZUSA, Calif. – Senior Sasha Budde enjoyed one of her finest collegiate games ever and single-handedly made sure that the NAIA’s No. 22-ranked Azusa Pacific snapped out of its 3-game losing streak with a nonconference doubleheader sweep of Dominican University, beating the Penguins 6-0 and 2-1.
In the opening game, back-to-back doubles by Rachel Alkire and Budde, followed by a Michelle Coleman single to left turned a 1-0 Cougar advantage into a 3-0 cushion after 3 innings of play. Then in the fourth, Budde crushed her first-ever collegiate home run, a 1-out, 3-run blast the caromed off the top of the left field fence to give Azusa Pacific a comfortable 6-0 lead through 4 innings of play.
That was more than enough for sophomore pitcher Megan Alkire, who held the Penguins to just 3 hits while striking out 3 in the process of picking her second shutout of the season and improving to 4-1 on the campaign.
Budde finished the game 2-for-3 with 2 runs scored and a career-high 4 RBIs. All-GSAC Jennie Waleszonia was 2-for-4 with 2 runs and a first-inning triple that led to a 1-0 Cougar lead in the early going.
In the nightcap, Alkire’s fifth-inning, 2-out single to center scored Holly Downard, who had tripled in the previous at-bat, to snap a 1-1 tie and propel the Cougars to the sweep.
Sophomore pitcher Nicole Hendrix went the distance, surrendering just 4 singles and striking out 3 Penguins. She danced out of trouble in the first and second innings, stranding Penguins at third base each time, and then relied on some sharp Cougar defense to avert danger in the sixth inning.
Dominican’s Christina Puentas led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second. However, as she rounded the base, Waleszonia threw behind Puentas to a covering Rachel Alkire. Puentas was eventually tagged out in a run down and a potential game-tying run was erased from scoring position. Two batters later, Waleszonia made a nice stretch on a Jacqui Fitzhugh grounder to get the Cougars out of the inning.
Hendrix retired the Penguins in order in the top of the seventh to pick up her fourth win in 6 decisions this season.
Budde finished the doubleheader, 3-for-6. Waleszonia was 4-for-7 with 3 runs. Megan Alkire was 3-for-7 with a run scored and an RBI.
With the sweep, Azusa Pacific, which has now won 25 straight over teams from the California Pacific Conference, improves to 16-6 on the season. After its first-ever meeting with Azusa Pacific, Dominican falls to 4-7.