Lauren MacLeod walks onto the plate knowing she is not going to strike out. The senior catcher grips her bat with two outs on the scoreboard and keeps fighting until a 3-2 count in the fifth inning. She composes herself and she surveys the pitch by UC Riverside’s Hailey Dolcini. One big swing later and she hits one out to left field. The mere sound of the hit lets the audience know that it’s gone, and the crowd of 437 stand and cheer. MacLeod runs around the bases screaming in joy as she provides the spark needed to extend the No. 18 Long Beach State softball team win streak to 13.
“I have the mindset that I’m not going to strike out, I want to get any type of hit possible that can produce for the team,” MacLeod said. “I was excited because I know that we really needed that hit.”
Long Beach (32-7, 6-0 Big West) extended its win streak to 13 after defeating UC Riverside (25-15, 2-4 Big West) 4-2 for the third time in a row. The 49ers were dominant in the series, keeping the Highlanders scoreless in their first two games, but they would give up their first run of the series to tie the game up at 1-1 in the fourth inning.
“I’m proud of the way we fought back, and it wasn’t perfect, but we battled and we got some key at-bats,” head coach Kim Sowder said.
It wasn’t the most effective night for sophomore right handed pitcher Cielo Meza, who was pulled out in the third inning after giving up multiple walks. Sophomore right handed pitcher Devyn Magnett came in and took care of business to win the game for the 49ers.
“It’s a good confidence builder because I think everybody has each other’s back,” Magnett said. “[Cielo] cheered me on, we’re really good at picking each other up.”
Sowder felt confident in bringing in Magnett early after Meza’s early struggles, which paid dividends as only one run would be given up in the final inning of the match.
MacLeod got the day started with a sacrifice pop fly in the first inning that sent junior infielder Nichole Fry home. This gave her the first of her three RBI’s of the match.
From there on out, the offense was stagnant until MacLeod’s big play, but the 49ers defense stayed locked in to finish the game.
Long Beach goes on the road against Fullerton for the start of a three game series. The series starts with a 6 p.m. match Friday against the Titans.