AZUSA, Calif. –- The NAIA’s No. 12-ranked Azusa Pacific stroked 8 doubles, including a key one in the first game and 6 more in the night cap, to produce a doubleheader sweep of GSAC rival Biola, beating the Eagles 3-2 and 8-4.
With the 2 victories, Azusa Pacific improves to 22-8 overall and pulls even in the GSAC at 5-5. Biola falls to 15-13 overall, 3-7 in the GSAC.
In the first game, the Cougars broke a scoreless tie with 2 unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. With 2 outs and 1 on base, Azusa Pacific’s Jennie Waleszonia rolled a slow grounder that Eagle second baseman Jennifer Crinklaw was unable to hold. Rachel Alkire then whistled the next pitch down the left field line for a double, scoring Megan Alkire, who had earlier singled with 2 outs, and Waleszonia..
Biola answered in its next at-bat, finally getting to Cougar pitcher Megan Alkire, who had retired 11 of the first 12 batters she faced and had a no-hitter through 3.2 innings. The Eagles opened the sixth with 3 straight singles, and when Cougar right fielder Cassie Lakey threw away Rebekah Anderson’s base hit, Joanna Gray trotted home from third with Biola’s first run of the game. The Eagles then tied the game on Nicole Menjares’ suicide squeeze that plated Crystal Roberts.
Megan Alkire walked to lead off Azusa Pacific’s half of the seventh inning. She was sacrificed to second where pinch runner Rachel Yoshizu took over. Rachel Aklire then singled to the gap in left-center, sending Yoshizu home with the game-winning run. It was the Cougars sixth 1-run victory this season, and their fourth walk-off victory.
Megan Alkire struck out 5 and allowed just 5 hits in recording the complete-game victory and pushing her record to a team-best 6-1 on the season. Her streak of 19 innings pitched without allowing a run ended in Biola’s sixth.
In the nightcap, the Cougars strung together 3 doubles in the third inning to produce 4 runs and take a 6-0 lead. Sasha Budde and Shawna Paxton lined back-to-back doubles to leftfield to break open the game.
However, Biola rallied in the fifth inning with 4 runs on 5 hits to pull to within 6-4.
Azusa Pacific put the game away with 2 insurance runs in the sixth inning.
Sophomore Michelle Coleman picked up the win to improve to 5-1 on the season. She was nearly untouchable in the early going, limiting Biola to just 2 hits through 4 innings before succumbing to the heat of the day and eventual fatigue. Nicole Hendrix came on in relief to pick up her first collegiate save, retiring all 5 Eagles she faced.
Rachel Alkire finished the doubleheader 4-for-7 at the plate with 3 RBIs, all in the first game. Likewise, her twin, Megan Alkire, was 4-for-7, which included a perfect 3-for-3 in the second game. Megan Carpenter was 4-for-6, and was also 3-for-3 in the second which included a pair of doubles. Third basman Trisha Rico continued her torrid hitting by going 2-for-3 in each game. Over the past 4 games, Rico is 10-for-14 with 5 runs and 4 RBIs.