Pitching Dominates And Flores Delivers In Both Games As Beach Sweeps Marathon DH At Cal Poly
Meza, Flores and Clermont combine to throw 21 scoreless innings on Friday.
San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Runs looked to be scarce coming into the weekend, and both games went into extra innings with no score as Cal Poly and Long Beach State’s pitching had the edge over the hitting. In the end it was the Beach that outlasted the Mustangs, winning 2-0 in 12 innings in game one before grabbing the series victory 1-0 in 9 innings in game two.
Cielo Meza and Jessica Flores combined for a 12-inning shutout in the opening game, the longest game Long Beach State (18-20-1, 6-2 Big West) has played since the 2011 season. The game ultimately went 12 innings, a testament to the pitching resilience of both the 49er duo and Cal Poly (28-12, 4-4 Big West) starter Sierra Hyland, who threw all 12 innings while taking the loss.
Combined, the teams left 30 runners on base as both teams had chances in regulation, but neither team was able to put across a run. Cal Poly loaded the bases in the third and fourth innings, while the Beach had them full in the fifth inning, but no scoring would come from the two opportunities.
Flores entered the game in the fifth inning after a leadoff walk from Meza, and was tremendous in a record setting day. Pitching a career high 8.0 innings, Flores would scatter six hits and strike out a pair without allowing a run on the day.
Lauren MacLeod singled to lead off the top of the seventh in the first of two scoring threats for the Beach. After a sacrifice, LT Torres singled to put runners on the corners with one out, but Gyerman, who had four hits in the game, grounded out and Hyland escaped the inning with no score.
In the ninth, it was third baseman Stephanie Heyward who saved the day for the Mustangs. Mattie Scheele hit a two-out double, and LBSU followed with a walk and a single from Gyerman to load the bases. Flores, at the plate, smacked a hard line drive that seemed guaranteed to bring home a run, but was snared by Heyward to end the inning.
The Beach finally broke through in the top of the 12th inning. Torres singled to start the inning, and after Jessica Flores drew a walk, Nichole Fry singled to score Torres with two outs. Julia Lombardi followed with a second single to score Flores for an important insurance run as the Beach took a 2-0 lead.
Flores then retired the side in order in the bottom of the 12th to claim her third win of the season.
The second game proceeded much as the first, through the first seven innings, as Cal Poly’s Lindsay Chalmers and Long Beach State’s Christina Clermont had command of the game through regulation.
Early chances for both teams in the first inning didn’t lead to a run, and both Clermont and Chalmers settled in, allowing just nine combined hits.
In the end, it was Long Beach State that broke through in the ninth inning. Torres started the rally with her fifth hit of the day, and moved into scoring position on a groundout from Gyerman. Flores then came through at the plate after her game one performance in the circle, singling through the right side allowing Torres to score the only run of the game.
Clermont had a walk in the ninth, but was otherwise untroubled while matching her previous high in innings pitched in the nine-inning, complete game shutout. The win has the ninth of the year for the senior, as she allowed just seven hits in the game.
Long Beach State enters the final game of the series on Saturday in sole possession of first place in the Big West, and will try to finish off the sweep of the Mustangs on the road in a 1 p.m. start.
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