LBSU Softball Opens Big West Play With Split At CSUN
Nichole Fry's two-run homer in the seventh inning proved to be the difference in the Beach win.
Northridge, Calif. -
Freshman Nichole Fry reached base four times in game two and hit her first home run for the Beach as Long Beach State rallied to beat CSUN to earn a split on the first day of Big West Conference action.
Long Beach State (21-12, 1-1 Big West) struck first in the opening frame. Freshman Tierra Falo drew a leadoff walk, and a flyball to right field from Darian Tautalafua was just out of the reach of a diving Mackenzie Babbitt, ending up as an RBI triple for the senior.
That run would hold as the difference for most of the game as Christina Clermont and Daphne Pofek were in command in the circle. Both pitchers allowed just four or fewer hits through seven innings, and the score was even entering the eighth inning after CSUN (21-15, 1-1 Big West) scored in the sixth.
Ariana Wassmer hit a two-out double for the Matadors in that inning, and came around to score on a pinch hit single from Haileigh Gonzalez.
The Beach threatened in the top of the eighth inning, as LT Torres singled to start the inning, and after a fielder's choice, a wild pitch moved Nichole Fry into scoring position. After an intentional walk to Tautalafua, the Matadors got out of the inning with a strikeout of Julia Lombardi to end the threat.
Taylor Glover singled to start the bottom half of the inning, and after being sacrificed over to second, a second single put runners on the corners, and then a sacrifice fly from Wassmer finished off the game in a 2-1 walkoff.
Defense continued to carry the day in game two, as two spectacular plays in left field capped both halves of the first inning. Torres singled to start the game, and after a walk to Fry, the Beach looked to be in position to take an early lead on a ball hit deep to the gap by Lombardi. Katie Hooper ran down the ball, saving at least two runs as the Beach was shut out in the first.
Long Beach State returned the favor in the bottom half however, as Haley Tobler pulled back a long fly ball from Karlie Habitz back from over the fence, ending the inning and saving a pair of runs in the process as Glover was on base for the Matadors.
CSUN took the first lead of the game in the second inning, as Mackenzie Babbitt beat out an infield single and then came around to score on a double from Tara Kliebenstein.
In a mirror image of the first game, both pitchers ultimately were in control through the first five innings as Skie Munoz and Taylor Troost battled in another pitcher's duel.
Long Beach State evened the score in the sixth inning. Fry started off the inning with a single, and after moving to second on a groundout, came around to score as Lombardi's third hit into the outfield finally dropped for an RBI double.
Continuing the mirror image theme of the first game, Long Beach State took the lead late after trailing through much of the contest. LT Torres singled with two outs in the seventh inning to extend the game, and then Fry came through with her first collegiate home run, lifting a shot to left field that put the Beach on top 3-1.
Munoz picked up the win in her first collegiate start, throwing six innings and allowing six hits with one run allowed, improving to 3-1 on the year. Clermont earned her second save of the season in game two, holding on despite allowing a solo home run to Maylynn Mitchell.
The series between the Matadors and the Beach concludes on Sunday, with the third game of the series scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at Matador Diamond.
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