Irvine, CA - Day one at the GSAC Championships saw Hope International split as they lost to Vanguard 7-0 but then beat Arizona Christian 11-3. Freshman Chelsie Keller paced the Royals' offensive attack against the Firestorm with not one… but two home runs. Senior Lauren Ackerson delivered a home run, as well, as part of an unbelievable 10-run third inning.
In the opener against Vanguard, the Lions loaded the bases in the first but the Royals escaped the jam without allowing a run thanks to throwing out a runner a plate and Senior Mea Flores ending the inning with a strikeout.
Vanguard led off the bottom of second inning with a double and managed to cash in one run.
Senior Liz Gonzalez came in and scattered two singles over her first two innings.
But Vanguard broke the game open with three runs in the fifth and sixth thanks to two home runs in the fifth and a three run home run by Breanne Gomez in the sixth- all against Gonzalez.
Offensively, the Royals could only muster single runners in the first, third, and seventh. The only real threat for Hope International came in the fifth when Ackerson and Junior Taylor Augino both singled before they were left stranded.
Although she only allowed one run, Flores was charged with the loss. Vanguard's Rachel Stalford earned the win allowing four hits and improved to 17-5.
Game two against Arizona Christian started with the Royals again giving up another three run inning on another three run home run -- this time by Jasmine Aguilar -- for a quick 3-0 Arizona Christian lead.
However, Junior Kayla Klein allowed just three more base runners and only one hit in her final four innings. She would eventually earn the win to improve 7-9 on the year.
Hope International loaded the bases in the bottom of the first but came away empty.
Keller put the Royals on the scoreboard when she drilled the third pitch of the bottom of the second over the left field fence.
Then came the unbelievable bottom of the third inning. After an out was recorded to begin the inning, Freshman Corie Apodaca and Ackerson each walked. Keller stepped in and hammered again the third pitch of her at-bat over the left field fence for a three run bomb (her third homer of the season) to give Hope International a 4-3 edge. Sophomore Amanda Matthews singled before the second out of the inning was recorded. Freshman Aryn Campos reached on a dropped throw to first base to keep the inning alive. Augino singled to load the bases. Senior Adi Lopez sent a single through the right side to bring home Matthews. Freshman Jocelyn Young climbed in and hit the first pitch she saw to left center for a double to clear the bases. Apodaca dropped a single into right center to plate Young. Ackerson then belted her third home run of the season to complete the scoring in the ten run inning and give Hope International an 11-3 advantage. For good measure, Keller singled after the Ackerson homer for a perfect 3-3, four RBI game. The inning ended with a strikeout.
Oddly enough, Hope International was retired 1-2-3 in the bottom of the fourth inning in their last at bat of the day.
Hope International will continue on in the GSAC Championships as they will face Vanguard again (who lost to No. 1 Concordia 3-2 in the final game of day one). The Royals and the Lions will face off at 11:45 am on Friday with the winner continuing on for at least one more game and the loser concluding their season. Arizona Christian finished the year with a record of 9-31.