San Marcos, CA- On Thursday, Hope International righted the ship to earn a split with No. 2-ranked Cal State San Marcos falling 2-0 before winning 4-0. Junior Liz Gonzalez went the distance in both games again to earn the much deserved victory. Senior Janelle Medor was 3-3 with a double, RBI, and run scored in the second game. Junior Lauren Ackerson cranked out her team leading eighth home run.
In the first game, the Royals (21-15) had their chances. Junior Adi Lopez, who was on base all four times she came to the plate in the first game, opened the day reaching on an error by the Cougar shortstop. Lopez worked her way around to third on a sacrifice and wild pitch but was left stranded.
In the third, Lopez singled through the left side with two outs and moved up on a wild pitch but went no further.
Hope International had two base runners in the fourth (single by Ackerson and Sophomore Michelle Rivas was hit by a pitch) and the sixth (Lopez singled and Ackerson reached on fielder's choice on which Lopez was save at second) but still were unable to capitalize.
In the seventh inning, the Royals had a golden opportunity to a least break up the shutout and probably tie the game. Sophomore Stephanie Froussine led off the inning with a single to right and Sophomore Crystal Martin was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second with nobody out. Junior Kristin Peterson moved up the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Following a ground out to the pitcher, Lopez walked to load the bases. A ground out ended the inning and game.
For the Cougars (31-5), they scored on a single and triple in the third inning. Then in the sixth inning a single, stolen base, and double produced their second run.
Gonzalez took the loss despite once again giving a superb effort. She finished six innings of work allowing six hits, no walks, and one hit batter. She had no strikeouts but forced 11 groundouts.
In game two, Hope International finally produced a run in the third inning. Peterson started the inning by putting a ball in play and beating the throw to first. She then processed to steal second. Senior Leslie Coffee sacrificed her to third. Peterson scored on an error by the Cougar shortstop. The Peterson run broke a scoreless streak of 28 innings for the Royals.
Come the sixth inning, Hope International found their scoring rhythm again to gain some breathing room. Lopez singled to left and stole second base to jump start the inning. Medor followed with a double to right center to score Lopez with ease. Ackerson then stepped into the box for an eventful at bat. During her at bat, Ackerson fouled a pitch directly off her left leg. After taking some time, she then beat a ball down the first base line but the ball was debatably called foul. In obvious pain and upset, Ackerson stepped back into the box and absolutely crushed the next pitch to slightly left of center field for a two run home run. The homer moved Hope International to a lead of 4-0.
Gonzalez took care of the rest as she gave up just three hits scattered over her seven innings of work. The only real trouble to work through for Gonzalez came in the bottom of the sixth. A walk (the only one for Gonzalez on the day) and an error at third followed by a stolen base put runners at second and third with two outs. But Gonzalez denied the threat by striking out a batter looking.
With 27 straight innings of pitching, Gonzalez was finally awarded with win number 12 on the season.
Interim Head Coach Mark Dupuy stated, "Great win. We started putting the ball in play and beat them. Gonzalez pitched an unbelievable two games and stepped as a leader and did her job despite being obviously sore. All the leaders of the team stepped up today."
The Royals now get a much needed eight days off before traveling to Concordia a week from Saturday. First pitch in Irvine on April 6 is scheduled for 12:00 pm.