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36 and Counting

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March 31, 2005
Gary Pine
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AZUSA, Calif. – Azusa Pacific hasn’t lost to Hope International in 11 years, and the Cougars made it very clear that today would be just another day at the office.

Azusa Pacific pounded out 28 hits in 48 at-bats (.583 avg.) and scored at least 1 run in all 8 innings of work as the Cougars cruised to 12-2 and 10-0 mercy-ruled GSAC victories over Hope International.

The Alkire twins, Megan and Rachel, provided all the necessary offensive bang, exploding for a combined 8-for-12 effort at the plate that included 4 doubles, a home run and 8 RBIs.

Meanwhile, in the pitcher’s circle, Megan and Kris Franks held Hope to just 5 hits while striking out 13. The Cougars’ hitting/pitching combo led them to their 35th and 36th consecutive victories over the Royals.

In the opening game, Hope jumped out to a short-lived 1-0 lead on Lisa Teberg’s 2-out solo home run down the left field line, her GSAC-leading 12th of the season. The Cougars came right back with 3 runs in the bottom of the first, 2 coming off Cassi Sweeney’s team-leading ninth double of the season. Azusa Pacific added 5 more in the second inning. Rachel Alkire ripped a bases-clearing double to centerfield that put the Cougars up 8-1 at the time.

After plating a single run in the third, the Cougars put the first game away with 3 more runs in the fourth inning, all with 2 outs. For the game, Megan Alkire was 3-for-3 with 2 runs, while Rachel Alkire was 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs, all off 2 doubles.

Franks struck out 8 in her 5 innings of work, including 5 of the first 7 batters she faced, while picking up her team-leading 12th win in 16 decisions.

In the nightcap, the Cougars used a 7-run third inning to blow open the game. Megan Alkire’s 3-run homer over the centerfield wall, her fifth bomb of the season, put the Cougars up 5-0 at the time. The Cougars then followed with 3 straight singles by Rachel Alkire, Jessica Mikesell and Shawna Paxton and when Tami Carter lifted a sacrifice fly to left that scored Mikesell, Azusa Pacific held a 9-0 advantage.

Megan Alkire fired a 2-hit shutout, the Cougars’ 12th goose egg of the season, and stuck out 5 while walking just 1 to improve to 3-0 on the season. Additionally, she continues to sizzle at the plate. Over the past 10 games, Alkire is batting .607 (17-for-28) with 6 doubles, 2 home runs and 10 RBIs. She is now batting a team-leading .467 on the season.