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Cougars Gain Hope

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March 13, 2003
Gary Pine
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AZUSA, Calif. – Sophomore pitchers Nicole Hendrix and Michelle Coleman surrendered just 7 hits over a combined 13 innings of work and struck out 13 to lead the NAIA’s No. 22-ranked Azusa Pacific to a GSAC doubleheader sweep of Hope International, 4-0 and 8-0.

In the opening game, Hendrix entered the circle for the second time in less than 24 hours and showed no signs of fatigue, finishing strong by retiring the final 9 batters of the game and 13 of the final 14 to push her record to 5-2. After allowing back-to-back singles to open the game, Hendrix struck out the next 4 in a row on her way to 6 strikeouts.

Hendrix got all the runs she needed when Jennie Waleszonia opened the fourth inning with a fly ball to left field that was mishandled into a 2-base error. Rachel Alkire then doubled home Waleszonia with the game’s first run. In the fifth inning, the Cougars parlayed 2 Royal errors into 3 more runs, 2 of which were unearned.

Alkire finished the game with 2 of the Cougars’ 7 hits and an RBI.

In the nightcap, Coleman retired the first 11 Royals she faced, which was more than enough time for the Cougars to take control of the game. Azusa Pacific scored 3 unearned runs in the first inning to cruise in for the mercy-ruled victory. Waleszonia’s 3-run home run with 1 out in the sixth, her third round tripper of the season, ended the game. Coleman finished with 5 strikeouts and improved her record to 4-1 while lowering her ERA to a team-best 1.18

Freshman catcher Shawna Paxton, who had a 2-run double in the first inning, finished the game 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs. Aurion Sanchez was 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.

With the sweep, Azusa Pacific has now won 4 straight and improves to 18-6 overall, 3-3 in the GSAC. Hope International falls to 3-11 overall, 0-8 in the GSAC.