April 12, 2014
Long Beach, Calif. - Long Beach State softball extended their winning streak to 10 games, beating Hawai'i 5-3 in the day's first game before a comeback 8-2 win in game two, the big hit coming on a Sarah Carrasco grand slam in the bottom of the fifth in front of a sellout crowd Saturday at the 49er Softball Complex.
The 49ers 8-0 Big West start is the best in school history, passing a 7-0 start from 2000 as The Beach extended their lead in the conference with a doubleheader sweep over Hawai'i (19-18, 4-4 Big West).
Long Beach State (31-9, 8-0 Big West) won the first game behind a quick start offensively and a strong game from Erin Jones-Wesley. The senior pitcher allowed a career-high eight walks, but limited the damage by giving up just four hits and striking out a season-high tying 11 batters, working around trouble until late in the contest.
After a bases-loaded strikeout got Jones-Wesley, the 49ers spotted the senior a lead. Shayna Kimbrough and Cya Neal started the game with back-to-back singles, and after Hannah De Gaetano was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Ashlynn Booker came through with a two-run single to put the 49ers on the board.
The Beach put up two more unearned runs in the fifth inning, and answered a Hawaii tally with a run of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Leisha Li'ili'i hit a two-run home run to pull the Rainbow Wahine within two with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Jones-Wesley struck out Sharla Kliebenstein to end the game and improve to 17-4 on the year.
Game two ran in the opposite fashion, as Amanda Hansen ran into early trouble in the circle, but rebounded to set a career high with nine strikeouts in a complete game effort of her own.
With four hits in the first inning, Hawai'i took a 1-0 lead, but Hansen was able to get a bases loaded strikeout of Kliebenstein to close out the inning. Long Beach State was able to answer with a run in the bottom of the second, but Kliebenstein, reaching on a wild pitch following another strikeout in the fourth, scored on back-to-back hits from Sarina Jaramillo and Ulu Matagiese as Hawai'i led 2-1 through four innings.
The offense came through in support of Hansen in a big way in the fifth inning however. Kimbrough led off the inning with a hit, and after an out, a single by De Gaetano and a pair of walks loaded the bases for The Beach. Darian Tautalafua singled home a run to tie the game, bringing up Carrasco, who had earlier had a fly ball literally pulled back into play from beyond the fence for a double in the in the fourth.
This time the senior left no doubt cracking a grand slam to left field to put LBSU on top for the first time in the game, now up 6-2. Long Beach State added two more insurance runs in the sixth, and Hansen and the 49ers cruised the rest of the way in an 8-2 victory.
The series finishes Sunday with one more game against the Rainbow Wahine. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m., and will be broadcast live on ESPN3.
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