Santa Clara, Calif. - Christina Clermont and Jessica Flores combined for a tremendous pitching performance against Northwestern, holding the Wildcats scoreless through seven innings and then allowing just one tiebreaker runner to score on the way to a 2-1 win in nine innings.
Clermont allowed just one hit through six innings, and Flores closed out the win as Long Beach State (9-16-1) and Northwestern (6-13) didn’t have a run score through seven innings and only allowed the tiebreaker runners to score in extra innings.
Kenzie Ellis struck out six, going eight innings for Northwestern as the teams combined for four hits through the first seven innings.
Long Beach State’s best opportunity before extra innings came in the second following a one-out triple by Hannah Cookson, while Northwestern loaded the bases in the sixth on three walks, but Clermont escaped the jam before giving way to Flores.
As part of non-conference tournament play, from the eighth inning on each team started with a runner on second, and each team brought home that lone runner in the eighth inning. The Beach got the action started by sacrificing the runner over, and then after a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases, Mattie Scheele came through with a sacrifice fly before a fielder’s choice ended the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Northwestern tied the score with an RBI single from Ellis, but with two on, Nichole Fry threw out the winning run at the plate on a grounder, and Flores induced a flyout to send the game to the ninth inning.
Julia Lombardi singled to put runners on the corners for the Beach in the ninth inning, a hit that would end up being critical, as an illegal pitch called on Morgan Newport balked home the tiebreaker runner to once more give LBSU the lead.
Two bunts loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for Northwestern. Flores picked up the first out of the inning with a shallow fly ball to left field keeping the runners in place. The junior then got a huge out by striking out Morgan Nelson, and a ground ball to Fry at shortstop ended the game as the Beach held on, allowing just four hits on the day.
Long Beach State continues at the Santa Clara Tournament Saturday, facing Lehigh at 9 a.m. before playing the hosts, Santa Clara, at 2 p.m.
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