LA MIRADA, Calif. – Biola needed just 2 innings of scoring to completely dash Azusa Pacific’s diminishing playoff aspirations, using a 4-run second in the first game and a 3-run third in the nightcap to sweep a GSAC doubleheader from the Cougars, 4-3, and 3-1.
The twin bill setback dropped Azusa Pacific 3 games out of the fourth and final spot for an NAIA regional postseason berth with only 2 GSAC games remaining on the schedule, thus eliminating the Cougars from the playoff race.
As has been the problem throughout the past month, the Cougars struggled with their 2-out concentration, and in the first game surrendered all 4 Eagle runs with 2 outs. In fact, Cougar pitcher Kris Franks got the first 2 batters of the inning before Biola laced 4 straight singles to score 2 runs. A passed ball and another single moved the Eagles out to a 4-0 lead.
The Cougars answered in their next at-bat with 3 runs. Tami Carter and Jessi Boicelli each had RBI singles and the Cougars took advantage of an error to score another run and pull to within 1.
While Franks settled down, allowing just 1 hit over the final 3 inning of work, the Cougars consistently threatened to tie the game, putting the tying run at third base with less than 2 outs in both the fifth and seventh innings. However, both times Eagle pitcher Katie Gustaveson wiggled out of the jam by inducing infield pop-ups and a pair of strike outs to preserve the victory.
In the nightcap, Azusa Pacific took a brief 1-0 lead in the third inning when Megan Alkire trotted home with an unearned run off a bases-loaded, catcher’s interference call.
Biola, though, responded with 3 runs in its next at-bat. Jacquelin Hudson’s bases loaded single scored Mary Dinsmore and Stacey Duncan to give the Eagles a lead it would not relinquish.
Gustaveson replaced Dinsmore in the pitchers circle and allowed just 2 Cougar hits over the final 4 innings of play, and Azusa Pacific never threatened again.
Lori Shimasaki went 6-for-8 on the day to account for a lion’s share of the Cougars’ 16 hits.
With the double loss, Azusa Pacific falls to 29-15 overall, 9-13 in the GSAC. The Cougars close out the season next week with a nonconference doubleheader with UC San Diego on Tuesday before returning to GSAC play against Point Loma Nazarene on Saturday. Both doubleheaders are in Azusa.