Strong Pitching Leads Long Beach State To Doubleheader Sweep Of CSUN
Christina Clermont pitched a complete game while Cielo Meza made her first start in game two.
Long Beach, Calif. - Christina Clermont pitched a complete game in the opener and then Cielo Meza impressed in her first start of the season as Long Beach State held CSUN to one run in each game on the way to a pair of victories Saturday to open Big West conference play.
CSUN (20-13, 0-2 Big West) entered conference play as the top-hitting team in the conference batting over .300, but the Long Beach State (14-18-1, 2-0 Big West) pitching staff was in command throughout the day on the way to a pair of victories.
Clermont earned her seventh win of the season in the opener, going the distance while scattering four hits in a 3-1 victory.
The Beach jumped out to an early lead with a two-out rally in the first inning. Hannah Cookson doubled to keep the inning alive, and then scored on a single from Nichole Fry. After a hit batter and a walk loaded the bases for the 49ers, a single from Mattie Scheele brought home Fry to put the Beach in front 2-0.
A sacrifice fly brought home a run for the Matadors in the third inning, but quick thinking from Clermont on the cutoff allowed Long Beach State to get out of the inning by throwing out Haileigh Gonzalez trying to advance to third base on the throw to the plate.
Long Beach State tacked on one more run in the bottom of the third, as Julia Lombardi doubled to lead off the inning. The junior then came home on a double from Lauren MacLeod, and that would be the end of the scoring in a 3-1 victory.
Meza, after pitching one inning against Loyola Marymount on Tuesday, continued to be eased back into the rotation but made her first start of the season on Saturday and continued to impress. Throwing four innings, Meza struck out four and allowed just two hits in her first significant outing of the year.
That was enough for Long Beach State to once more get out to a lead, as the Beach never trailed on the day. A leadoff double from Lombardi in the second inning once again lead to a run. After moving over Lombardi on a groundout a sacrifice fly from Scheele, her second of the year, put Long Beach State out in front 1-0.
CSUN scored a run off of reliever Devyn Magnett in the fifth inning, cutting the LBSU lead in half, and then following a leadoff double in the sixth from Katie Hooper, the Beach turned back to Clermont.
The senior responded by getting out of the inning and working a scoreless seventh as well to hold onto the 2-1 victory and earn the save, her first of the season and fourth at Long Beach State.
The Beach will go for the sweep as the series concludes Sunday, with the final game beginning at 1 p.m. at the LBSU Softball Complex.
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