After losing five games away on its recent road trips to Palm Springs and San Diego, the Long Beach State softball team found its groove and earned its second win of the week at home.
Long Beach defeated Liberty 7-0 after gaining an early lead, in day three of the Louisville Slugger Invitational.
Most of the action for Long Beach took place in the first inning, which started off with a single by senior infielder Nichole Fry who a hit low line drive up the middle. Sophomore outfielder Naomi Hernandez hit a blooper to center field, advancing Fry to second base. Junior infielder Taylor Rowland was walked and the bases were loaded with no outs on the board.
“We came out and played the way we’re capable of playing,” head coach Kim Sowder said. “I’m proud of the team, I’m proud of their fight and the way they’re responding to the ups and downs.”
Senior utility Jamie Wren continued the offensive attack in the first when she placed the ball into left center, allowing Fry to tag up to third and make it safely home. Senior designated player Tierra Falo was beaned, and the bases were loaded once again. Sophomore infielder Alyssa Gonzales grounded up the middle and scored Hernandez, prompting Liberty to make a pitching switch early on.
With Liberty senior pitcher Chase Cassady newly entering the game, junior infielder Sydney McCollum stroked it over junior second baseman Amber Bishop’s head, racking up two RBI’s and bringing the score to 4-0. Sophomore catcher Justine Briones and freshman outfielder Maddy Ruffin were walked, pushing Gonzales off of third and bringing her home to score. Fry found the gap up the middle once again, and brought in McCollum to score the sixth run of the inning.
In the fifth inning, the 49ers loaded the bases with a single from Ruffin and walks by Fry and Briones. The inning saw no further contact, but Briones was able to add to the score by stealing home on a pass ball.
The Lady Flames became a threat for the first time in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs. Despite Liberty’s attempt to score, Long Beach was able to execute each play and prevent it from earning runs.
The win was credited to junior pitcher Ashley Coleman, who threw a full game earning four strikeouts and allowing only two hits.
“I worked on a new changeup which was a huge thing for me today,” Coleman said. “I was able to mix those speeds and keep batters on their toes.”
Long Beach State will face San Diego State and Ohio in a double header 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.