COSTA MESA, Calif. – Vanguard swept Golden State Athletic Conference foe Hope International in its final regular season doubleheader to finish on a positive note at 34-22 overall and 10-6 in league play. Conversely, the Royals drop to 29-21 (7-9 GSAC) with the 5-0 and 3-1 losses. With the wins, Vanguard clinches the second place slot in the 2013 GSAC standings.
The Lions started the day hot, posting three runs in the first inning off of three hits and two Hope International errors. Vanguard added to its lead in the second with an additional score and eventually tacked on its fifth and final run in the sixth frame before holding the Royals scoreless in the top of the seventh to complete the shutout.
Sophomore Breanne Gomez (Santa Ana, Calif.) hit a single, a double and a triple to go three-for-four with three RBIs in the Lions' 5-0 opening game victory. Kimberly Skoglund (Lake Forrest, Calif.), the Blue and Gold's senior designated player, and Brittney Boggs (Lakewood, Calif.) were the other Lions to record multiple hits in the opener. Both women went two-for-four in the game. Skoglund also managed a stolen base in the contest, while Boggs tallied an RBI and a run scored for the Pride.
Vanguard's starter, second-year Rachel Stalford (San Diego, Calif.), registered her 10th win of the year with her complete game shutout performance. She gave up just three hits in seven innings, walked no one and struck out four in the effort.
In game two, Vanguard trailed 1-0 going into the bottom of the third, but senior Kari Bergerson (Chatsworth, Calif.) stepped up to get a bit of mid-game conditioning in, nailing a ball between Hope's center and right fielders to log a two-run inside the park homer for the Lions.
Gomez stepped up defensively in the fourth frame to almost singlehandedly put two outs on the board for Vanguard. Her first play was a diving grab in foul territory, which she followed up with a quick thinking put-out after she caught Hope International's runner on first leaving early and threw her out. The final out of the inning was also impressive, as sophomore shortstop Haley Croce (San Diego, Calif.) dove for a ball to her left and fought momentum on the throw to just beat the runner with the assistance of a Boggs' stretch at first.
The fourth inning saw Vanguard post its third run to take a 3-1 lead, but Hope International responded in the fifth with a score of its own to keep the contest within a single run.
The close game was short-lived, however, as the Vanguard extended the margin to two runs in the bottom of the frame after knocks from Bergerson and Skoglund.
Not surprisingly, the seesaw continued in the sixth as the Royals registered another run, but sophomore Shelby Ross (Hughson, Calif.) relieved sophomore Brittany Colenzo (Downey, Calif.) mid-inning to get Vanguard out of the frame with its lead intact.
Colenzo (9-2) earned the win and Ross picked up the save, her second of the season, for the Blue and Gold. Colenzo's performance also featured seven strikeouts.
Bergerson and Skoglund garnered two hits apiece in the win and accounted for three of the Lions' RBIs.
The 2013 GSAC-Cal Pac Tournament begins on Thursday, April 25th at Concordia.