FROM LBSU REPORTS
Naomi Hernandez tied a school record with five hits in the opener, and then No. 22 Long Beach State softball fought back in game two to grab an extra-inning victory to sweep the doubleheader Saturday at Loyola Marymount.
The five hits from Hernandez in game one tied the school record set back in 2007 by Associate Head Coach Panita Thanatharn during her playing days at the Beach.
Long Beach State (26-7) cruised to a big victory in game one behind a busy offense and a complete game shutout from Cielo Meza, her sixth of the season. Meza was in top form in the opening game, allowing just two hits and striking out seven on the way to her 14th win of the year.
The sophomore got plenty of support from her teammates, and it started early. Nichole Fry, the first batter of the game, hit a solo home run, her fifth of the season to give the Beach a 1-0 lead, and after a double from Hernandez, the Beach brought home the freshman on an RBI single from Taylor Rowland.
Hernandez drove in a run with an RBI single in the second inning, and added one more run in the fourth inning, a solo home run to center field to give the Beach a 4-0 lead.
The Beach opened it up in the seventh inning, batting around and scoring six runs to reach the final score of 10-0. Hernandez claimed her fifth hit during the seventh inning, an RBI double to finish a triple short of the cycle and tie the school record.
Loyola Marymount (17-20-1) bounced back to take an early lead in game two. Delainey Wisz hit a leadoff double in the second inning, and scored on an RBI single from Katie Manley. The Lions then added a second run in the third inning, drawing a leadoff walk and then pushing the runner around to take a 2-0 lead.
Long Beach State would pull even over the late innings. Rowland singled to start the fifth inning, and came home to score on a double from Jamie Wren to cut the lead in half. Rowland then extended the game with the first pitch of the seventh inning, hitting a huge home run to right field onto the roof of the batting facility at Smith Field to tie the game at 2-2.
Rowland came through once more in extra innings. Fry singled to put two on with the tiebreaker rule in effect, and after Lauren MacLeod walked to load the bases, Rowland doubled to left field to give Long Beach State their first lead of the game, 4-2. Wren followed with an RBI single and LT Torres hit a sac fly to give the Beach a 6-2 lead.
LMU equaled Long Beach State’s effort in the bottom of the eighth inning. Flores walked a pair to load the bases, and three additional singles scored four Lions runs to tie the game. The senior pitcher struck out her eighth batter of the game to get out of the inning and push the game to the ninth.
LBSU took the lead once more in the ninth. Loading the bases with two outs, Lauren MacLeod singled to bring home two runs to snag an 8-6 lead.
Devyn Magnett came on to close out the game, and earned her third save of the year as the placed runner came home to score, but no more as the Beach claimed the 8-7 victory. Rowland finished game two with two singles, a double and a home run in another fantastic game for the sophomore at Smith Field.
Long Beach State begins conference play at home next weekend, hosting Hawai’i for a three-game series. The Beach hosts the Rainbow Wahine on Friday at 1 p.m. before playing a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. on Saturday.