STOCKTON, Calif. - After falling to Cal Poly in its first game of the day, the Nevada softball team used a four-run fifth inning to jumpstart yet another comeback and take down Pacific by a score of 9-8 on Wednesday night. With the win, the Wolf Pack (30-24) moves on to the championship round in the Pacific regional of the Postseason NISC tournament.
The Pack's first game of the day against the Mustangs (36-19) turned out to be a nail-biting, pitcher's duel between sophomore Kali Sargent and Cal Poly's Lindsey Chalmers. Between the two of them, a total of six hits were surrendered as both were dominant in the circle, allowing a combined one walk.
Sargent finished the game tossing an absolute gem, where she gave up just four hits and didn't walk any of the 24 batters she faced. The lone run of the game came in the bottom of the fifth when Cal Poly scored off of a sacrifice fly, which proved to be the difference as the Mustangs took the game, 1-0. In the contest, junior Aaliyah Gibson and freshman Kenzi Goins each went 1-for-3, collecting the Pack's only hits of the game.
With its backs against the wall and facing elimination, the Pack responded quickly in its second game of the day, scoring a run in the top of the first. After senior Raquel Martinez recorded the first hit of the game, junior Erika Hansen singled her to second and Martinez advanced to third on an error from the Tigers (28-26).
The Pack's run came courtesy of a sacrifice fly to centerfield from freshman Kenzi Goins that brought around Martinez to give Nevada the early 1-0 lead. The Tigers responded though, with a run of its own in the bottom of the second to tie the score. However, Nevada came back the next inning and reclaimed a 2-1 lead, after Goins brought home Martinez for the second time in the game.
In the bottom of the third, Pacific would answer, scoring a total of five runs in the inning off of three Wolf Pack errors that gave the Tigers a 6-2 advantage. Another run from Pacific in the bottom of the fourth pushed the Pack deficit to five runs, but Nevada had it within itself once again to fight back.
The next half inning, Nevada tacked on four runs in the top of the fifth to trim the Pacific lead to just a run. The monster inning began with Gibson singling to right-field, which was followed by Martinez collecting a base hit of her own.
After Hansen reached on a fielder's choice, Goins stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and none out. She connected on the first pitch of the at bat with a double into the left field gap, bringing around Gibson and Martinez to score on the play. Goins' two RBIs on the play marked her third and fourth of the game, which is a career-high.
The rally continued when freshman Mele Tausinga brought home the third run of the inning with a sacrifice fly of her own. With still one out in the inning, the Pack's final run of the top of the frame came courtesy of a groundball from senior Nikki Orozco that allowed Goins to score on the play.
With Nevada now just down a run, the Pack finally tied the game up with another run in the top of the sixth, when Hansen drove home Nevada's seventh run of the contest with a single center. In the bottom of the inning, Pacific put Nevada up against the wall once again by scoring a run to take an 8-7 lead in the seventh.
Tausinga started the inning off with a double to the gap in right. After freshman Sadaria McAlister came in and pinch-ran for Tausinga, freshman Sienna Swain tied the game once more by reaching base on a fielder's choice, in which McAlister would score on the play. Senior Melissa Arriaga gave the Pack the 9-8 lead with a double to left-center that brought home Swain.
The one-run lead proved to be all the senior McKenna Isenberg would need to seal the 9-8 win for the Pack. Nevada will be back in action on Thursday, as it will face Cal Poly at noon in the regional championship game. Live stats, as well as a live stream, of the game can been viewed on pacifictigers.com.