Fullerton, CA- Hope International pulled off two comebacks, including being down 10-2 in game one, to sweep Biola 12-11 and 8-6 on a breezy Tuesday afternoon. Junior Lauren Ackerson was 3-5 on the day with five walks, two home runs (including a walk off in game one), a double, five RBI, and four runs scored. Senior Janelle Medor was 5-8 with a double, two runs, and two RBI playing in her final two games in front of the home fans at Craig Park.
The Royals (27-19, 7-7 GSAC) opened the game on the right note scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a walk by Sophomore Taylor Augino, double by Ackerson, RBI squeeze bunt from Sophomore Stephanie Froussine, and double to left center off the bat of Sophomore Michelle Rivas.
But the Eagles (21-26, 5-9 GSAC) responded with a six spot in the top of the second keyed by a two run home from Vanessa Coleman and three run home run off the bat of Ashley Spadt.
Biola was not done scoring as they tacked on two more runs in the fourth (two run home run) and fifth innings (two unearned runs) to built a 10-2 edge.
With the Royals down to their final two outs before the mercy rule kicked, Augino dropped a single just out of the reach of the Biola shortstop inside the left field line. On the next pitch, Ackerson drilled a two run home run down the left field and the Royals were still alive for at least one more inning.
In the sixth, however, HIU decided to put together a six run inning of their own. Junior Liz Gonzalez led off the inning sending a single into right center. Junior Kristin Peterson moved her over with a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore Tori Marentis then came into run for Gonzalez. Junior Adi Lopez singled through the left side before Augino walked for the third time in the game. Froussine singled to right to score Marentis and Lopez. Rivas doubled home Augino and Froussine. Sophomore Crystal Martin capped the scoring in the inning with a two run home run to left- her second of the season. The Martin dinger tied the score at 10-10.
BU used four singles in the top of the seventh inning to score a run and take an 11-10 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Lopez sandwiched a double to left between two groundouts. That left the game in the hands of Ackerson as she stepped in with two outs and the tying run at third. After running the count full and a fouling off a few pitches, Ackerson connected on a two run walk-off game winning home run to center field.
Gonzalez did not have her best stuff but was rewarded with the win thanks to the tremendous run support.
Game two out started as a pitcher's duel. Medor was on the money as she retired the first eight batters she faced. Three consecutive errors by the Royals loaded the bases for the Eagles with two out in the third. But Medor induced a ground ball to end the third and then a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth.
Offensively, HIU had their chances especially with the bases loaded in the third but the game remained scoreless heading into the fifth.
The Eagles broke up the shutout with an unearned run in the fifth.
In the bottom of the inning, HIU answered with five runs to take the lead. Ackerson walked. Rivas bounced a ball over the right center field fence for a ground rule double. Martin singled to left to drive in Ackerson. Medor fouled a sure double about a foot foul before two pitches later straightening out the ball down the left field line to drive in a pair. Gonzalez singled through the right side to plate Medor. Marentis ran for Gonzalez again. Peterson was hit by a pitch and Lopez singled to shortstop to load the bases for Augino who singled just inside the right field line to send Marentis across for the fifth run of the inning.
Hope International looked like they had taken charge with the five run fifth inning but Biola had other ideas. The first three batters of the sixth reached via a double and two walks before BU's Vanessa Coleman hit a grand slam home run to tie the score at 5-5. Gonzalez came into relieve Medor and gave up a double and single to give Biola a 6-5 lead.
HIU actually hit out of order to being the bottom of the sixth inning so there were quickly two outs. However, back-to-back singles from Medor and Gonzalez kept the inning alive. Two errors from the Eagles allowed the tying run to score and loaded the bases. Augino singled through the right side before Ackerson drew a bases loaded walk to drive in the final run of the game and put HIU up 8-6.
The Royals needed three outs to complete the double comeback sweep. A fly to left was the first out. But Biola used a single to get a runner on. With the game tying run at the plate, Gonzalez induced a ground ball to short which Martin grabbed, stepped on second, and fired to first to end the game on a double play.
Gonzalez earned the win in relief and improved to 17-9 on the year. Wins 16 and 17 in a season sets a new HIU season high in wins since the Royals joined the GSAC in 1999- surpassing the 15 wins from Alexis Alonzo last season.
Biola's Sarah Enriquez threw all 14 innings for the Eagles and suffered both losses to fall to 18-17 on the year.
The sweep of Biola assures Hope International a spot in the Unaffiliated GSAC/CALPAC playoffs next week.
Hope International will close out the regular season by traveling to Vanguard for two games on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 12:00 pm. Biola will end their regular season by hosting Arizona Christian at 12:00 pm.