The 49ers rushed the field at the Long Beach State softball complex after Maddy Ruffin sent the ball into center field in the bottom of the fifth inning, bringing in two runs and ending the game against LMU with the mercy rule. Long Beach State dropped the first game against LMU 3-0 and came back with an 8-0 win in the second.
The first game of the day was a tough battle between the two pitchers, until LMU put a run up on the board in the top of the sixth inning. Sophomore left fielder Molly Grumbo started off her successful day at the plate with a double hit to deep left center. Grumbo didn’t remain on second for long as she was moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by senior catcher Irma Sanchez, and was rewarded home with an RBI single by sophomore shortstop Andrea Gonzalez.
The Lions attacked again in the seventh when freshman right fielder Hailey Jackson was hit by a pitch and given first base. Grumbo’s bat woke up once again as she sent the ball to right center, allowing Jackson to showcase her wheels and advance to third. Sanchez added to the score after an error by senior utility Jamie Wren, who misread the ball and took her first step forward, causing it to miss her glove and find its way over her head.
The 49ers had a chance to catch up during their last ups in the bottom of the seventh, but were unable to produce any runs.
With a quick turnaround from the first game, Long Beach State started the second game of the day off strong. Leadoff batter senior shortstop Nichole Fry got to first base on a walk, and was moved to second when sophomore right fielder Naomi Hernandez gave up an out with a slap to third base. Junior third baseman Sydney McCollum got on after hitting a blooper that tipped off of the glove of sophomore second baseman Megan Dedrick, and Fry was moved to third on an infield fly by Wren.
With two outs on the board, both runners on base were brought in by Sophomore first baseman Alyssa Gonzalez, who hit a dinger to right center. Senior designated player Lauren Lombardi roped the ball to left field, bringing in Gonzalez with a close play at home and elevating the score to 3-0.
Action for the 49ers picked up again in the third when Gonzalez sent the ball over the fence in left center, earning a solo homerun and the fourth run of the game.
“I struggled a little bit the first game trying to find a hole and keeping the ball down from the wind,” Gonzales said. “It felt good to finally just attack.”
The fifth run was scored in the fourth inning, when freshman center fielder Ruffin singled up the middle and scored on a high-shot RBI double to center field by Fry.
The fight continued in the fifth inning when Gonzalez and Lombardi each earned singles. An error by the second baseman put freshman designated hitter Emily Salazar on first, loading the bases for Ruffin. Ruffin capitalized on the opportunity and dropped the ball into center field, bringing in two runs and ending the game 8-0.
The win was credited to junior pitcher Ashley Coleman, who threw a no-hitter in the five innings played.
“Offensively we hit the ball a lot better in the second game,” head coach Kim Sowder said. “Jumping on the board in the first inning gave us the momentum.”
Long Beach State travels out of state to begin conference play 9 p.m. Friday against Hawai’i.