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Cornerstone rankings grow tighter as APU sweeps softball

Eagles only score one run over two games against their archrivals.  |  Caitlin Gaines / THE CHIMES

 

Softball entered the Cornerstone Cup fray on March 17, visiting the Azusa Pacific University Cougars for a doubleheader. The Eagles’ normally powerful lineup fell silent against APU’s pitching, crossing the plate just once in the first game and getting shut out in game two. The losses mark just the second time the Eagles have been swept this season.

COUGARS POUNCE ON VAN DAGENS EARLY

Senior starting pitcher Terri Van Dagens took the ball for game one, getting through the first inning but running into trouble in the second. APU loaded the bases off Biola’s ace, then scored three runs in the inning off a double and a groundout. The Cougars tacked on another run in the third off a sacrifice fly. That would prove Van Dagens’ final inning, as freshman reliever Paige Austin took over from there and tossed three scoreless innings. However, the Eagles could not capitalize with a late rally.

Biola could barely get anything going at the plate as APU starter Kat Ung did not even allow a single baserunner until junior shortstop Andi Hormel’s single in the third inning. The Eagles scored their only run of the day when junior outfielder Areana Ramos doubled, advanced to third on a groundout and then scored on a wild pitch. Biola put a runner on third base in each of the following innings, but could not get another run across as Ung worked a complete game for a 4-1 APU victory.

ESPINOZA PROVES ENIGMA FOR EAGLES

Racqual Espinoza took the ball for the Cougars in game two and ensured that the Eagles would have an even tougher time against her than they did against Ung. Biola could only muster one productive inning against the APU starter, when they loaded the bases on two singles and a hit-by-pitch with one out in the fourth. However, the Eagles could not capitalize as a fielder’s choice and a flyout ended the inning. It would prove Biola’s best chance, as Espinoza did not issue another hit for the rest of the game.

Junior pitcher Kaile Chavez started for the Eagles and, like Van Dagens, struggled in the second inning, allowing a two-run single to give APU the lead for good. The Cougars added a run off an error in the third and an RBI single in the fourth off Austin, providing plenty of cushion to defeat the Eagles 4-0.

The sweep drops the Eagles to 24-8 on the season and 11-5 in the PacWest. They will travel to face California State University San Marcos on March 20, with their doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.

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