Fullerton, CA - Hope International used two comebacks on Tuesday to knock off Embry-Riddle (AZ) 6-5 in 8 innings and 7-4 to open their season with a sweep. Junior Julie Lopez played a big part of both games going a combined 2-4 with a walk and two runs scored.
Senior Liz Gonzalez earned the first start of the year and gave up two hits to the first two batters she faced. However, Gonzalez worked out of trouble by inducing two groundouts (including one back to herself) and a fly ball.
Senior Adi Lopez led off the offensive portion of the season with a chopper toward third base that she beat out without even a throw. She was left stranded at third.
After a 1-2-3 inning for the Eagles (0-2) in the second, the Royals (2-0) scored their first run of the season after Sophomore Amanda Matthews walked, was sacrificed to second by Gonzalez, and scored on a single through the left side by Freshman Aryn Campos.
Embry-Riddle responded with a single run in the third and fourth innings.
The Royals countered with two runs in the fourth and a single run in the fifth to build a 4-2 edge. Gonzalez and Campos both drove in a run in the fourth (both unearned due to ERAU errors). A. Lopez walked, stole second, and then scored on a single from Senior Michelle Rivas in the fifth.
In the top of the seventh, a walk, single, and groundout put runners at second and third for the Eagles. Then a single cued off the bat of ERAU's Alexa Redman spun through the right side of the HIU infield to plate the two runners and tie the score at 4-4.
Following a scoreless bottom of the seventh, the Eagles cashed in their international tie break runner for a 5-4 lead.
Rivas was the international tie break runner to begin the bottom of the eighth for the Royals. Matthews and J. Lopez (pinch hitting) walked behind her and a dropped pop-up allowed Rivas to score to tie the score. A fielder's choice saw the potential winning run thrown out at the plate before one Lopez (A) singled to drive home another Lopez (J) for the game winning run.
Junior Kayla Klein, making her Royals, lost the save but earned the win.
A. Lopez and Campos both went 2-4 in the game with A. Lopez driving in two runs.
In the second game, Embry-Riddle scored two in the first and two in the fourth with a single HIU run sandwiched in between in the third. Junior Taylor Augino singled through the right side and eventually came into score on a sacrifice fly from Freshman Jocelyn Young to account for the HIU run.
HIU climbed within another run when Freshman Corie Apodaca doubled down the left field line just inside the third base bag. Two pitches later, Freshman Chelsie Keller singled to left to drive home Apodaca. HIU was down 4-2 at that point.
Then came the bottom of the fifth when HIU exploded for five runs on six hits. The Royals started the inning with four straight singles- two of which drove in a run. Apodaca knocked in two with a single. After a pitching change, Apodaca stole second and went to third on a wild pitch before cashing the final run for a 7-4 lead on a single from Augino.
Senior Mea Flores went all seven innings in the second game for her first win of the season.
Head Coach Aimee Rosa, making her Hope International coaching debut, stated, "I like what I saw defensively. We did the small things right and held our own. I am definitely pleased with starting 2-0 but with that comes a lot more work to stay ahead and keep this momentum going."
The Royals will have ten days before they play again. They will host University of Antelope Valley on Valentine's Day at 1:00 pm.