Fullerton, CA- Hope International and Menlo played a double header on Saturday that lasted 5:40 minutes and resulted in a split between the Royals and the Oaks. HIU mounted another comeback win in a 13-10 slugfest in the first game. Menlo thwarted the Hope International comeback in the second game winning 8-7 in 8 innings. Freshman Corie Apodaca had a huge day going 5-7 with three doubles, five runs scored, and five RBI.
The tone was set for the non pitcher ERA friendly twin bill in the very first inning as both teams plated a run but both could have scored more. The Oaks (2-6) produced four straight two out singles to plate a run and load the bases. But junior Kayla Klein ended the bases full jam with a groundout. The Royals (5-1) used back-to-back walks from senior Adi Lopez and junior Taylor Augino and an RBI single from junior Julie Lopez to tie the score at 1-1.
In the second, the teams demonstrated the theory of one action creates an equal reaction as both teams posted a five spot. A single and double chased Klein before Menlo used a total of five hits and two errors to account for their five runs.
HIU saw their first seven batters reach in the inning as freshman Jocelyn Young singled, Apodaca doubled, freshman Chelsie Keller doubled, and sophomore Amanda Matthews singled before the top of the lineup showed their patience and enticed three straight walks.
With the score tied 6-6, Menlo pushed across three runs as Hope International answered with two runs.
In the fourth, Menlo scored a run to moved ahead 10-8. But HIU responded with another five spot. Following walks to J. Lopez and Young, Apodaca doubled to drive home pinch runner junior Vanessa Smith and Young. A. Lopez drove in Apodaca with a single. Augino deposited a single into right before senior Lauren Ackerson tripled home A. Lopez and Augino to give HIU a 13-10 edge.
With 23 combined runs on the board, and nearly two hours from start time, the game finally reached the fifth. The top of the fifth finally saw a zero put up on the scoreboard. In fact, the final sixteen batters of the game went down in order with the help of an HIU turned double play in the sixth.
senior Liz Gonzalez came on in relief and pitched the final 5.2 innings for the win.
In the second game, senior Mea Flores continued the little window of pitcher ERA friendly action as she retired the first six batters she faced.
Meanwhile, the Royals went back to hitting as they produced three runs in the bottom of the first. A single and stolen base each for the trio of A. Lopez, Augino, and Ackerson plated two runs. Three batters later Apodaca cashed in Ackerson for the 3-0 lead.
HIU stranded a lead-off pinch hit double from senior Michelle Rivas in the second.
Menlo used the strength of two singles, a double, and a triple to tie the score at three in the third. They cashed in three unearned runs in the fourth to built a 6-3 advantage.
Hope International re-tied the score with a run in the fourth and two in the fifth. Apodaca scored two of those runs sandwiched around Young crossing the plate.
Neither team scored in the rest of the regulation seven innings. In fact, at one point Ackerson had a hand in retiring seven of eight Oaks including six straight thanks to five 5-3 groundouts and a line drive. However, her best of the day ended the top of the seventh when she climbed the ladder to snag a screaming line drive with a nice snow cone grab.
Still tied, the international tie breaker kicked in the eighth placing a runner at second. With darkness quickly setting in, the Oaks received the break they needed when a single to right was over run and the tie break runner and batter all came around to score.
Down 8-6 headed to the bottom of the eighth inning, the Royals had three outs to answer. A. Lopez drove in the tiebreaker runner Keller before stealing second. Augino sacrificed A. Lopez to third. But a fly to center ended the game.
Flores threw seven innings but Gonzalez came on in relief again to pitch the eighth. She suffered the loss to fall to 2-1. Oddly enough, Menlo's Kelly Hager went the distance and like Gonzalez went 1-1 on the day as she was the pitcher of record in both games for the Oaks.
The Royals will next be in action on Thursday when they head to La Sierra in Riverside. First pitch is slated for 1:00 pm.