Daily 49er

Long Beach State softball team struggles to spark momentum in Judi Garman Classic

The Beach gets one win in five game tournament.

Appearing+in+seven+games+so+far+this+season%2C+junior+pitcher+Jessica+Flores+looks+to+improve+her+7.88+ERA+as+the+season+progresses.+
Appearing in seven games so far this season, junior pitcher Jessica Flores looks to improve her 7.88 ERA as the season progresses.

Appearing in seven games so far this season, junior pitcher Jessica Flores looks to improve her 7.88 ERA as the season progresses.

Jose De Castro

Jose De Castro

Appearing in seven games so far this season, junior pitcher Jessica Flores looks to improve her 7.88 ERA as the season progresses.

Estela Garcia, Staff Writer

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Just as the men’s basketball team struggled early in the season, the Long Beach State softball team has run into a roadblock as it takes on its toughest competition during its nonconference schedule.

The Beach faced off against Fresno State, Florida, No. 14 Michigan, Indiana and South Carolina.

LBSU went 1-4 in the Judi Garman Classic; where last year it went 3-2 in the same tournament. The Beach moves to 6-9-1 to start the season.

Head coach Kim Sowder said that the team’s performance was what ultimately decided the outcome of the tournament.

“It was never about who we were playing but how,” Sowder said. “It’s important to look at every opponent the same. We need to play at our best against really good teams and teams who don’t have as good records.”

Sowder also said that the team felt better Sunday even before game one. She saw lots of opportunities missed in the previous two days and made sure the team understood that how critical every play is.

All in all, Sowder and the other coaches agreed that defensively the team wasn’t at its best. The ladies of the Beach made nine defensive errors throughout the tournament.

“We had more confidence in the end and game one showed that. The girls wanted to come out with two wins to end the whole thing but we were able to get that momentum back, which helps  a lot. We gotta keep that going and know to play to our ability,” Sowder said.

LBSU started off the tournament with a nail-biter Thursday morning. Playing Fresno State, the two teams kept things tied up 1-1 and forced extra innings. The Bulldogs, as the visiting team, scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning.

The 49ers were put in a tough situation and the pressure seemed to be too much as they were only able to come up with one run in the bottom of the eighth. The Beach lost game, 4-2.

Senior pitcher Christina Clermont, who was chosen as a candidate for the senior CLASS award last week, got the start for the Beach in that game.

Clermont had a season high six strikeouts in game one and would pick up another six in the second game of the night, against University of Florida.

In the game against No. 3 University of Florida, the Beach was defeated by the back to back SEC champions 17-0. The lone Beach hit came via a double from sophomore shortstop Nichole Fry and broke up the Gators’ Kelly Barnhill’s perfect game.

On Saturday, the 49ers faced off against No. 14 University of Michigan. LBSU had a tough start to the game but scored five runs in the fifth inning to make the game 10-5. Still, Michigan came back with three in the bottom half and made LBSU lose its chances of a comeback as the game ended after five innings of play. Michigan won that game 13-5.

The 49ers looked for their first win in the classic Sunday morning and they certainly made it entertaining. Starting pitcher Jessica Flores and the team went against Indiana University to start one of the final two games. The bats started fast for the Beach as they loaded the bases in the top of the first, but wouldn’t put any runs up on the board until the fifth, when sophomore infielder Tierra Falo hit a three-run homerun to left field. Her teammate Fry had a day of her own, hitting one out of the park as well to give the Beach the 5-4 win.

Fry has a team leading .341 batting average and was a triple shy of the cycle against Indiana.

In its final game, the Beach faced off against South Carolina University. The starter of game one Clermont got the start. While the defense on both sides kept things quiet early on, the Beach was the first to score on a pair of base hits. The Gamecocks reciprocated by scoring four runs, starting with a solo home run from senior Taylor Williams. The Beach couldn’t come back from this one, even though they threatened and fell 4-2 to close out the tournament.

The Beach returns to play in the Louisville Slugger Invitational that will be hosted in Long Beach starting Thursday. They’ll first face off against Boston University at 11:30 a.m. and play Eastern Michigan, UCLA and Harvard.

 

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