LAKEWOOD — Unlike Friday’s 6-5 win over Iowa State, the ‘Niners made sure to pounce the Cyclones early in Sunday’s rematch and never showed mercy.
That is, until they had to.
The Long Beach State softball team cruised to a 9-1 mercy-rule win over Iowa State (14-6), led by another shut-down performance from freshman pitcher Taylor Petty and ample run support.
“She did a great job of keeping them off-balance,” head coach Kim Sowder said.
Petty (5-0) tossed six innings to record four strikeouts, three hits, one unearned run and kept the Cyclone hitters in the infield for much of the game.
“I’m not a velocity pitcher so I had to rely on movement and placement with my pitches,” Petty said.
Iowa State’s Rachel Zabriskie (7-4) went 5 2/3 innings and allowed 11 hits and three earned runs.
“We picked up runners after [Iowa State’s] mistakes and took advantage of it,” Sowder said.
‘Niner catcher Kristen Pocock ended the game with a walk-off double to the center field wall to score third baseman Jennifer Griffin from first.
Griffin knocked in two runs of her own in the previous at-bat on a two-out single to drive in Casey Burba and Megan Denio.
“[The offense] put a good hold on the pitcher and got comfortable with her pitches,” Petty said. “Our lineup from top to bottom was strong.”
The Cyclones’ only run came in the fourth when catcher Alex Johnson plated left fielder Carleigh Berry on a shallow single to center.
The ‘Niners jump-started the scoring in the first on a Pocock single to drive in left fielder Ashley Weber. Pocock advanced to second on a throwing error.
A Brandy Reyes sacrifice fly and Jonae Perez single tacked on two more runs for The Beach, and handed Petty a 3-0 cushion before she stepped into the circle.
“[Our hitters] took the weight off my shoulders and made it more comfortable,” Petty said.
The 49ers (12-7), who have won eight straight, came back later in the day to defeat No. 12 Fresno State, 8-0, via the mercy rule.
Pocock again delivered the walk-off hit, singling to left to score Griffin.
Griffin went 1-for-2 with a homer, run scored and three RBIs. She put the ‘Niners on the board with a two-run blast to left-center in the first.
Shortstop Ashley Levine highlighted a four-run fourth inning with a two-run triple to center.
Sophomore Brooke Turner (7-3) carried a no-hitter into the fifth before allowing a leadoff single. She struck out seven, walked one and allowed two hits over six innings.
LBSU returns to Mayfair Park for another three-day tournament starting Friday. The ‘Niners will face Longwood (9 a.m.) and Florida International (3:45 p.m.) on the first day.