Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi's game-saving catch closed out a memorable day for the junior.
March 23, 2014
Long Beach, Calif. - Center fielder Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi finished off a huge offensive day by flashing the leather, making a diving catch to stymie a San Diego comeback in the bottom of the seventh in a 3-2 win over San Diego, the second of two wins for The Beach on Sunday.
The junior finished the day with four hits, three RBI, three runs scored and two triples as Long Beach State topped the host Toreros while also defeating San Jose State in the day's first game 9-6.
Long Beach State (23-9) opened up the day by piling up some runs to outscore San Jose State, avenging a loss to the Spartans Saturday. The 49ers needed to rally, however, despite opening up a big early lead.
Down 1-0 through two innings, Long Beach State tied the game by scoring Tupua-Tautalatasi after the center fielder hit a leadoff triple in the third, and then opened the game up with a four-run fourth inning.
Ashley Holmes walked to put a runner on base for Long Beach State, and then the 49ers had a huge two-out rally, picking up four consecutive singles from Sarah Carrasco, Tupua-Tautalatasi, Shanya Kimbrough and Cya Neal to score four runs, taking a 5-1 lead.
San Jose State countered with a big sixth inning, as Erin Jones-Wesley ran into trouble after collecting the first two outs. A walk to Collette Riggs started the rally, and then it was the Spartans that hit four straight singles, with a triple from Jessie Hufstettler doing the most damage, scoring three additional runs after Amanda Hansen had come on in relief.
The 49ers turned things around in the top of the seventh, answering to hold off the Spartans. Cya Neal singled to start the inning, and following a walk and a fielder's choice, a single up the middle by Karli Sandoval gave Long Beach State a 7-6 lead. The 49ers pushed two more across on a double from Carrasco, and Hansen set down the side in order in the bottom half to get her 10th win of the season.
Against the Toreros, Mattie Scheele drew a leadoff walk in the third inning, and reached second after beating the throw on a sacrifice from Cya Neal. Tupua-Tautalatasi then stroked her second triple of the day, driving home two runs and then scoring herself on a double by Hannah De Gaetano.
Hansen held off the Toreros the rest of the way, finishing off a complete game to improve to 11-4 on the year, utilizing two flyball outs to Tupua-Tautalatasi, including the spectacular finale.
Jones-Wesley closed the weekend with eight strikeouts in total, giving her 638 for her career and setting a new Long Beach State record in the process, with still just under half of a season still to play. The senior will be looking at the conference's strikeout leaders next in her illustrious career.
With the conclusion of Sunday's action, Long Beach State has finished tournament play, and will begin conference play this weekend, heading north to play UC Davis with a doubleheader Saturday March 29 before finishing the series on Sunday, March 30.
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