AZUSA, Calif. –- Auron Sanchez’s bloop single to shallow leftfield scored Trisha Rico from third base with 1 out in the bottom of the eighth inning to cap Azusa Pacific’s second comeback from a 3-run deficit and lift the Cougars to a nonconference sweep of Cal State San Bernardino, beating the Coyotes 8-0 and 13-12.
After running the Coyotes out of the park in the first game, it appeared Azusa Pacific would be forced to settle for a split when CSUSB assumed a 9-4 cushion in the sixth inning of the second game. With Azusa Pacific still trailing 9-6 and down to its final out in the seventh inning, Megan Alkire laced a rocket down the leftfield line to clear a full set of Cougars off the bases and knot the game at 9-9.
San Bernardino answered in its half of the eighth, scoring a trio of runs to once again assume a 3-run lead at 12-9. Undeterred, Azusa Pacific came right back in its half of the eighth, scoring one run on a Rico single and 2 more on back-to-back wild pitches to again tie the score at 12-12, setting up Sanchez’s heroics.
In the first game, Alkire was a force in the circle, pitching a 2-hitter and recording her second straight shutout. Rico provided all the offense Alkire needed with a 1-out double that scored Sasha Budde and Shawna Paxton to put the Cougars up 2-0 in the second inning. The Cougars erupted for 4 more runs in the sixth inning to end the game. Alkire’s 2-run double scored Rico and Cassie Lakey to ignite the outburst.
With the victory, Alkire improves to a team-best 6-1 on the season while lowering her ERA to 1.08. As a team, Azusa Pacific pushed its record to 20-8 while Cal State San Bernardino falls to 8-28.
Rico finished perhaps her finest day ever as a Cougar by going a combined 6-for-8 in the 2 games with 4 runs scored, 3 RBIs and a double. Alkire was 4-for-5 with 5 RBIs, 2 runs and 3 doubles, while Lakey was 6-for-9, including a perfect 4-for-4 in the first game, with 4 runs and 2 RBIs.
All told, the Cougar banged out 28 hits between the 2 games and 7 different Cougars enjoyed multiple-hit games.