April 29, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The University of San Diego softball team fought to the end but saw their hopes at capturing a Pacific Coast Softball Conference Coastal Division championship dashed with a pair of losses Sunday afternoon to Sacramento State from the USD Softball Complex. The Toreros were edged in game one, 4-2, before dropping the final game of the season by a score of 7-1.
Senior catcher Taylor Hensley stood out for USD on the day with her 10th home run of the season to go along with a 3-for-6 day at the plate and a pair of RBI. Shortstop Kylie Ordos went 3-for-3 in game one while making a number of stellar plays in the infield.
The story in both games was missed opportunities for the Toreros as they continued to put runners in scoring position but struggled to take advantage of the scoring chances, leaving 10 runners on base in each game.
The Toreros (26-19, 13-7 PCSC) threatened in the top of the first by loading the bases thanks to a base hit by Morgan Kurtz and a pair of walks, but USD was unable to push a run across.
Sacramento State (27-19, 10-9 PCSC) got runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings but USD starter Jenny Lahitte (12-10) was able to get out of the jams without allowing a run. The Hornets stranded nine runners of their own in game one and eight in game two.
With two outs and a runner on third in the bottom of the fourth, Sacramento State was able to tie the game at 1-1 when Lahitte made a throwing error on a comebacker that allowed the runner to score.
The Hornets got runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the sixth. It looked like the Toreros would be able to get out of the jam when third baseman Chloe Kaneko cut down the runner at home trying to score on a soft grounder, but with two outs Alyssa Nakken drove a ball over the left field fence for a go-ahead three-run home run to put Sacramento State up 4-1.
Second baseman Jessica Tieszen kept the hope alive for USD when she blasted a two-out solo home run to left in the top of the seventh to cut the Hornet lead to 4-2. However, that would be the end of the Torero rally as Kaneko lined out to center to end the game.
Lahitte threw 6.0 innings in the loss, allowing three earned runs on nine hits while striking out three and walking one. Shelby Voelz (7-5) picked up the win for Sacramento State after throwing the complete game where she allowed two earned runs on eight hits with one strikeout and four walks.
In game two, Sacramento State got on the board right away with a sacrifice fly from Nakken that gave the Hornets an early 1-0 lead. The next inning, Kelli Frye drove in two with a double down the left field line before Shannon Kaufman picked up another run with an RBI groundout to shortstop, putting Sacramento State up 4-0 after two innings.
In the top of the fourth, Hensley and Lauren Tomey got back-to-back hits to put runners on second and third with one out but consecutive popups ended the inning for USD without getting a run across.
The Hornets added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth on a three-run double from Marissa Navarro that gave them a 7-0 advantage.
The Toreros finally got on the board in the top of the fifth with a bases loaded walk by Hensley that brought in Katie Emerson. The next batter, Tomey, drove a pitch to deep center field but it found the glove of Hornet center fielder Frye at the warning track for the third out, leaving the bases loaded. That would prove to be the closest USD would get.
Cassidy Coleman (12-6) took the loss for USD after throwing 3.2 innings, allowing seven earned runs on eight hits to go along with four walks and four strikeouts. Taylor Stroud (14-9) picked up the win with 7.0 innings, allowing no earned runs while scattering six hits with three strikeouts and four walks.
With their 26-19 overall record, the Toreros end the season with the most wins under Melissa McElvain, surpassing the 2007 and 2011 seasons' mark of 24, as well as give USD their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1999 and 2000. Their second-place finish in the Coastal Division also ties the 2011 squad for the best conference finish in team history.
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