Finan Delivers Walkoff Win As Beach Splits DH With UC Riverside
Darian Tautalafua was walked eight times over the course of the day.
Long Beach, Calif. -
Long Beach State and UC Riverside each took a win in an unconventional doubleheader Saturday, with the Highlanders taking the opener 10-2 before Long Beach State rallied to win game two 3-2 on a Kelli Finan walkoff single.
Senior Darian Tautalafua was walked eight times on 33 pitches, as the Highlanders elected to avoid the record-setting third baseman on the day. That strategy paid off in the opener, but didn't work out as well in game two.
With those walks helping pave the way to two early runs, Long Beach State (29-19, 9-8 Big West) closed the day in thrilling fashion in the bottom of the seventh of game two. Having worked their way back from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game earlier, Nichole Fry singled to lead off the inning. Julia Lombardi then clipped a single up the middle off of the second base bag to put two on. A perfect bunt from Rachel Loera moved both runners up, and Kelly Finan roped a base hit to left field to end the day with a 3-2 Beach win.
In game one, the action didn't start until after the early innings. Hannah Rodriguez started off the third inning with a leadoff double as UC Riverside (32-18-1, 8-9 Big West) took the first lead of the game. After a bunt single from Maddie Richard, a wide throw allowed Rodriguez to score. Following that, a steal, a fielder's choice, and a sacrifice fly brought home Richard to give the Highlanders a 2-0 lead.
A solo home run from Natalie Sanchez added one more run for the Highlanders in the fourth inning, and Richard scored again after a leadoff single on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. Another solo homer from UC Riverside, this time from Chelsey Holley tacked on one more run before the Beach changed pitchers. After Skie Munoz entered, a hit batter and a second home run from Sanchez on the day gave UCR a 7-0 lead.
The Beach pulled back two runs in the bottom of the sixth. After Darian Tautalafua was walked for the third time on the day, a single from Haley Tobler and a hit batter loaded the bases for pinch hitter Irma Sanchez, who came through with a single up the middle, scoring a pair to make the score 7-2.
The Highlanders added three more runs in the seventh to account for the 10-2 final score. Despite walking eight, including Tautalafua four times on four straight pitches, Tayler Misfeldt finished off the complete game, winning her 21st game of the season.
The Highlanders once again took the first lead of the game in the second half of the doubleheader. Jenna Curtan started a two-out rally in the first inning, singling and then coming home to score on a double from Holley. UC Riverside added one more run in the second inning, as the Highlanders pushed around Stephanie Tickemyer around to score after a leadoff single.
Tautalafua set the single-season RBI record at the Beach in the second inning, as the senior walked for the sixth time on the day as the Highlanders continued to work around the 49er third baseman. A walk to Julia Lombardi started the rally, and a single by Irma Sanchez put two on.
Hannah Cookson walked to load the bases, and the Highlanders issued the free pass to Tautalafua on four pitches to make the score 2-1 with two outs. Perkins was retired to end the rally and keep UCR in the lead.
Cookson and Tautalafua combined again to start the game-tying inning for the Beach. Cookson singled and Tautalafua took her four pitches to put two on with no outs. Another walk, this time to LT Torres loaded the bases, and an error on the Highlanders brought home Perkins to tie the game, setting up the seventh inning heroics for the Beach.
Clermont went the distance, earning her 19th win of the season while striking out five in seven innings after pitching 4.2 innings in the first game of the day.
The teams will return to the LBSU Softball Complex tomorrow to complete the series. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
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