AZUSA, Calif. –- Freshman Kris Franks rifled an RBI single to leftfield to snap a 3-3 tie in the fifth inning and then retired 8 of the final 10 batters she faced to help Azusa Pacific salvage a split with GSAC rival The Master’s College, which defeated the Cougars 3-2 in the opener before Franks’s lifted Azusa Pacific to a 5-3 victory in the nightcap.
Franks, who entered the game with just 2 hits on the season, made the most of her rare start in the batting line-up, going 3-for-3 which included the game-winning safety that pushed across Megan Carpenter with an unearned run with 2 outs in the fifth inning. The rest was up to Franks as well as she kept The Master’s bats silent over the final 2 innings. Now 6-4 on the season, Franks finished with 6 strikeouts to give her a team-leading 59 in 71.1 innings of work this season.
Azusa Pacific, which never led in the opener, took its first lead of the day in the fourth inning of the nightcap when Megan Alkire lined a double to wall in right-centerfield, sending Crissy Butler and Cassie Lakey home for a 3-2 Cougar lead. The Master’s tied the game in its next at-bat on a Holly Pacini double that scored Stacy Cureton.
Undeterred, Azusa Pacific answered in its half of the fifth inning. Carpenter, running for Shawna Paxton who had singled, advanced to second base on an Aurion Sanchez sacrifice bunt and kept on going to third when Mustang shortstop Nicole Belair allowed a throw-behind to carom off her glove and into the outfield. Franks’ single enabled Carpenter to trot home with what proved to be the game-winning run.
Rachel Alkire crushed her team-leading seventh home run, a monster shot off the drive-in theatre wall that knotted the score at 1-1 in the second inning.
In the first game, Mustang Danielle Tucker’s 2-out double to leftfield scored Cureton and Shannon Richwine to give The Master’s a 3-0 lead. That proved to be the difference in the game after Azusa Pacific’s Megan Alkire hit her third home run of the season, a 2-run bomb in the third inning to get the Cougars to within a run. However, they could not solve the pitching of Trisha DeSimone, who 4-hit the Cougars and left the tying run at second base to end the game.
Megan Alkire finished the day 3-for-5 with 4 RBIs and 2 runs. Lakey was 3-for-6 with 1 run.
With the split, Azusa Pacific and The Master’s remain in a virtual tie for second place in the GSAC. The Cougars are 32-14 overall and 15-11 in the GSAC. The Master’s is now 31-12 overall and 13-9 in the GSAC.