Long Beach State softball pitching allowed one hit and no runs in an 8-0 win against UC Santa Barbara on Friday afternoon at the Long Beach State Softball Complex.
Junior starting pitcher Samantha Fowler pitched four scoreless innings with four strikeouts and one walk which helped lead The Beach in today’s victory. Followed by Fowler’s success today was freshman second baseman Jacquelyn Bickar who cleared the bases with a three-run triple in the second inning. The Beach would go on to score a total of five runs in the second which saw a total of 11 LBSU batters come up to the plate.
“Our defense and [Fowler] gave our offense a lot of momentum,” head coach Kim Sowder said. “Quick innings give you that momentum into the offense so they feel a little relaxed, no pressure, and [Bickar] did a great job with the bases loaded to get that two-strike triple.”
LBSU’s one-hit allowed came via the game’s first batter. UCSB sophomore shortstop Madelyn McNally’s single started the game well for the visitors, but two consecutive flyouts and a strikeout of senior first baseman Rayna Cohen on a 3-2 count left the former stranded at second base following a steal.
“[Fowler] shut them down early and demonstrated her confidence,” Bickar said about her starting pitcher’s almost-perfect outing. “Hopefully we come out the same way we did today; strong, a lot of energy because I think that gives us a lot of momentum.”
Bickar ended the game with two hits, two runs, and three runs batted in. Senior third baseman Ashleigh Inae also had a two-hit, two-RBI game in LBSU’s sixth win in the last seven games.
Inae’s two-out double in the bottom of the third ended the scoring for The Beach following a three-run inning that made the game 8-0 going into the fourth.
“Sometimes, like today, the offense has my back, other times I have to throw a 1-0 shutout,” Fowler said about how the team managed to come away with a win. “But it’s nice to have confidence in each other to have different ways to win games.”
For the top of the fifth, Sowder looked at her bullpen for the final three outs as sophomore pitcher Mo Quinlan completed the win for The Beach.
The victory keeps LBSU (10-3, 20-17) in the hunt for the top spot in the Big West Conference with just one loss separating The Beach from league-topping Cal State Fullerton (10-2, 25-14).
Up next for Sowder and The Beach is the final two games in the homestand against UCSB. A Saturday doubleheader will begin with game one at 1 p.m. and the second game of the day, and the series finale, set for 3 p.m.
“Tomorrow’s a brand new day, every game is different and we can’t get comfortable,” Sowder said. “We need to get some rest and continue to play the softball that we’ve been playing.”