Feb. 12, 2010
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - As long as LMU had waited for the 2010 softball season to begin, the first day of play never seemed to end as the Lions went extra innings twice to earn a split Friday on the opening day of the Sportco Kick-Off Classic at Eller Media Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev. Senior Darcy Pagnini homered in each game as the Lions fell 4-3 in eight innings to UC Davis before bouncing back with a wild 12-11 nine-inning victory over Kent State.
Pagnini got the season off with a bang with a solo home run to lead off the second inning that put the Lions on the board against UC Davis (2-0). As would be the case in this see-saw affair, the Aggies immediately struck back, evening the score at 1-1 in the top of the third with three straight singles off senior Melissa Dykema (0-1). The Lions would respond by taking back the lead in the bottom half of the inning, however, as junior Amy Charpentier doubled to center to bring home junior Jennifer Nayudu, who had singled to open the frame.
The Lions would maintain their 2-1 advantage until the sixth, when an error cost LMU the lead. With one out, the Aggies put runners on second and third but senior rightfielder J.J. Hartung muffed Sarah Axelson's fly, allowing the tying run to come home. Kelly Harman followed with a double to put the Aggies ahead for the first time.
In the bottom of the seventh, LMU rallied to tie the game. Nayudu led off with a double and was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Skylar Segura. Hartung then atoned for her defensive miscue by delivering a single up the middle to pull the Lions level and send the game into extra innings. UCD would spoil the comeback, however, as Santana lifted a sacrifice fly to center for the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth and the Lions could not muster an equalizer in the bottom of the frame against Dana Waldusky (1-0).
Dykema took the loss despite allowing seven hits and four runs (two earned) over eight innings while striking out six. Nayudu finished the contest 2-for-3 with a walk, stolen base, and two runs scored.
There was not much time to wallow in defeat as the Lions immediately turned around to face Kent State (0-2). As much as the first game was a relative pitcher's duel, the ball was flying out of the park as the afternoon wore on as the teams combined to use seven different pitchers while the offenses collaborated for 23 runs, 29 hits, and seven home runs.
LMU wasted no time in setting the tone, pushing across three runs in the top of the inning. Hartung started things off with a walk and was sacrificed to second, scoring on sophomore Sam Fischer's RBI single. Pagnini followed with her 12th career home run, a two-run shot to left. After Amy Hair's two-run homer in the second cut the LMU lead to 3-2, the teams would trade runs over the next three innings. Fischer pushed the Lion lead back up with an RBI double in the third, only to see the Golden Flashes strike back with a run of their own in the bottom half. Hartung then extended the lead again with a single in the fourth, bringing in sophomore Stephanie Hughes, who had tripled earlier.
Kent State threatened to take the lead in the bottom of the fourth when Heather Duhon led off with a home run that made it 5-4. A double and two walks loaded the bases with one out but Dykema, who had come on in relief in the third, got Jessica Blanton to hit back to her, starting a 1-2-3 double play to get the Lions out of the inning.
The Lions put the scare of the fourth behind them with a six-run fifth to seemingly blow the game open. Freshman Danielle Smith led off with a single, setting up the hot Fischer, who crushed a homer to center for her third hit and fourth RBI of the game. The hits kept coming as Pagnini and sophomore Kelly Sarginson each singled and Hughes walked, leading to back-to-back two-run singles from sophomore pinch-hitter Brittany Pereda and Hartung that put LMU in control, 11-4.
Kent State would not roll over, however, rallying for seven runs over the final three innings. The Golden Flashes put together consecutive three-run innings to pull back to 11-10 as Ashlee Hein's leadoff homer and Hein's second round-tripper of the day, a two-run shot, made it a one-run game in the sixth and Lauren Grimes hit the game's seventh home run in the bottom of the seventh to extend the game into extras.
With the international tie-breaker scenario at play In the eighth, neither team could push across a go-ahead run. That would come in the LMU half of the 10th as Fischer was placed on second and moved to third on Pagnini's groundout. Sarginson then put the Lions on top with a sacrfiice fly to center that was deep enough to bring home Fischer. Dykema secured the team's first win of the year with a perfect bottom of the ninth.
Seven different Lions collected at least one hit, with LMU's 1-through-5 hitters all having multi-hit games. Fischer, who led the Lions with 18 multi-hit games in 2008, finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored in her second career four-RBI performance. Sarginson, Pagnini, Smith, and Hartung all had two hits each. Dykema grabbed the win to improve to 1-1, going the last 5 2/3 innings in relief of starting sophomore Corie Goodman and freshman Molly Medeiros.
LMU continues play on Saturday, facing Long Beach State at 9 a.m. and Illinois at 11:15 a.m.
- GO LIONS -