Johnson Pitches Memphis to 5-2 Win Over San Diego
March 4, 2007
For Immediate Release
San Diego (7-9) 110 000 0 - 2 6 0 Memphis (13-7) 000 320 x - 5 5 1 WP - Johnson (5-4). LP - Ellenbeck (2-4). Save - None. 2B - (USD) Valenzuela, Fritsch. (MEM) Kelso (3), Pridgen (2)
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Battling back from an early 2-0 defecit, the University of Memphis softball team defeated the University of San Diego, 5-2, on Sunday in the final day of the USD Tournament.
Memphis senior pitcher Nicki Johnson was hit hard early and gave up two runs on three hits in the first two innings to give the Toreros an early lead. Johnson adjusted and allowed three hits in the remaining five innings to pick up her fifth victory of the season.
"Nicki made some awesome adjustments," said Memphis head coach Windy Thees. "She was throwing her best pitches up there, but it just happened to be what their best thing to hit was. So she went to her third best pitch and ended up just mowing them and carving them up with something she wasn't great at pitching last year. She went in there and threw a drop ball all over the place, and it looked great. I can't say enough about how she battled back and found a way to get outs."
The Lady Tigers scored five runs on five hits and walked five times in the game to improve to 13-7 on the season. Memphis gained the lead after putting three runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. Senior Lindsey Pridgen knocked in the game-winning RBI with a two-run double.
"She came through for us with a huge hit on a tough pitch," Thees said. "That gave us the lead and really gave us the momentum back. I think our girls knew we were going to win and had faith, but games like that, you can't wait too long. I'm glad that we didn't."
Junior catcher Lindsay Kelso went 1-for-1 in the game with a double to extend her hitting streak to eight games. Kelso also walked twice and scored twice.
San Diego put an unearned run on the board in the top of the first inning. Nichole Valenzuela led off the game with a double to right center and moved to third on a sac bunt. A dropped fly ball in shallow left field scored the first run for the Toreros. San Diego then widened its lead to 2-0 in the second inning. Alicia Massei led off the inning with a single to center field and moved to second on a sac bunt. After Valenzuela walked, Carey Casciola hit a two-out RBI single to the left side.
Memphis took the lead in the fourth, putting up a three spot in the inning. USD pitcher Jennifer Ellenbeck had retired seven batters in a row heading into the inning, but the Lady Tigers wore her out in the fourth. Kelso led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from senior third baseman Bridgette McNulty. After a walk to senior first baseman Kara Ross, San Diego area native Kimmi Hayden knocked in the first Memphis run of the game with an RBI single to left center. Pridgen followed with her two-run double to left center to cap the Lady Tigers' scoring drive.
Memphis added two more runs in the fifth inning to take a 5-2 lead. Sophomore San Diego native Leila Dolfo and Kelso drew back-to-back one-out walks to take Ellenbeck out of the game. Christina Haake entered the game in relief for the Toreros, and after striking out the first batter, gave up a two-out RBI single to Ross that scored Dolfo. Hayden then was hit by the pitch to load the bases and Kelso came around to score her second run in the game on a fielding error by the shortstop.
The Lady Tigers will conclude its appearance in the USD Tournament later today with a 2:30 (PST) scheduled game against UC Riverside.