May 11, 2012
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Long Beach State clinched a share of the Big West Conference softball championship on Friday with a doubleheader split with Pacific. The 49ers rallied from a 3-2 loss in game one to beat the Tigers 9-1 in six innings in the second game.
The 49ers (27-23, 15-5 Big West) need either a win in the three-game series finale with Pacific (34-19, 13-7 Big West) tomorrow, or a UC Santa Barbara loss at Cal State Northridge to claim the Big West Conference's automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. UCSB (29-28, 14-6 Big West) swept a pair of games from CSUN Friday to pull within one game of the 49ers.
UCSB holds the tiebreaker with LBSU based on the Gauchos winning their season series with the 49ers two games to one. UC Davis, who played at Cal State Fullerton late on Friday, can make it a three-way tie for first with series sweep at Fullerton and a LBSU loss tomorrow. The 49ers would lose the tiebreaker in a three-way tie based on losing the series to Pacific in that scenario. LBSU holds a head-to-head tiebreaker over UC Davis should the Aggies sweep and UC Santa Barbara lose Sunday.
Karli Sandoval led a balanced Long Beach State offense in Friday's doubleheader. She went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and a RBI. Cya Neal was 3-for-7 with three runs scored and two RBI, while Nalani St. Germain, Bree Stephan, Ashlynn Booker, Shayna Kimbrough and Hannah De Gaetano all had two hits.
Stephan, Booker and De Gaetano all joined Neal with two RBI on the day.
Erin Jones-Wesley picked up the win in game two, while pitching in relief in game one. She allowed just two runs, one earned, in 10.1 innings.
Pacific was eliminated from the Big West race with the loss in game two. The 49ers and Tigers wrap up the three-game series Saturday at 1 p.m. The game is the final home game for seniors Taylor Petty, Megan Denio, Alisha Rosen and Jennifer Madigan.
Game 1: Pacific 3, Long Beach State 2
The 49ers scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth but it wasn't enough as the Tigers held on for a 3-2 win in the first game of the doubleheader.
Pacific jumped out to a 3-0 lead scoring two runs in the third and one run in the fifth before the 49ers could mount any offense.
Sandoval cut the lead to 3-1 with a RBI single scoring Neal, who led off the inning with a hit. Stephan drove in Sandoval with the second run, but Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi was tagged out in a rundown trying to score from first to end the inning.
Sandoval and Stephan led the 49ers with two hits apiece. Petty (8-2) took the loss allowing two runs on four hits in 2.2 innings.
Tori Shepard (13-4) got the win for the Tigers scattering seven hits while allowing two runs.
Game 2: Long Beach State 9, Pacific 1 (6)
The 49ers scored five runs in the first inning and added three more in the fourth to pick up the win over the Tigers and a split of the doubleheader.
De Gaetano got the 49ers on the board in the first with a two-RBI double to right center scoring Kimbrough and Neal.
Sandoval, who walked, made it 3-0 when she scored on a wild pitch by Pacific starter Dani Bonnet. Booker followed the wild pitch with a two-run double into the left field corner scoring St. Germain and Stephan.
Pacific cut the lead to 5-1 with a run in the top of the third, but LBSU answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to push the lead to 8-1.
Neal picked up a pair of RBI scoring Booker and Sarah Carrasco with a single to left center to make it 7-1. Tupua-Tautalatasi added a sacrifice fly driving in Neal with the bases loaded to extend the lead to 8-1.
The 49ers added a run on a bases loaded walk to Stephan to end the game on the run rule in the bottom of the sixth.
Kimbrough, Neal, De Gaetano, Sandoval, and Booker all had two hits as the 49ers finished the nightcap with 12 hits. Neal, De Gaetano and Booker had two RBI apiece.
Jones-Wesley (19-12) scattered five hits and allowed just one run in six innings. Dan Bonnet (10-8) was charged with the loss.
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