‘Niners take Big West
The Long Beach State softball team beat Pacific and won its first Big West title since 2008 in front of a home crowd Saturday afternoon.
Sarah Carrasco’s three-run home run in the fourth inning was all the ‘Niners needed to put away Pacific and earn a trip to Arizona, where they will play in the regional round of the NCAA tournament.
“It just feels so good, I mean it’s such a relief,” head coach Kim Sowder said. “Every game was a grind and I’m just so proud of this team. I wanted it so badly for them.”
After splitting a doubleheader on Friday, the 49ers (27-22, 16-5 Big West Conference) entered their final game of the season needing a win to clinch the conference title. “Senior Day” was overshadowed by the stakes and the ‘Niners came out ready.
“Our seniors are very special to us and we wanted to honor them and take that all in, but once that was all done, we knew we had a game to play,” Sowder said.
Senior pitcher Taylor Petty started the game for the 49ers and threw a pair of scoreless innings before being taken out of the game due to a sore wrist. Sophomore Erin Jones-Wesley replaced her and was able to hold off a loaded Pacific lineup that included four players over .300.
“They have a lot of good hitters,” she said after the game. “I was really trying to just hit my spots and be smart with where people are set up and stuff and just trying to get good pitches in every time. No mistakes.”
The 49ers had a 1-0 lead when Carrasco came up to bat with two runners on in the bottom of the fourth. It was then that she hit a towering fly ball to left field that would clear the wall and the bases.
“I was hoping [it would go out], but I know with the wind blowing, there are not a lot of home runs here,” Carrasco said. “When it went over it was just so satisfying. It felt good.”
Carrasco’s home run was only the second all year at the 49er Softball Complex, where the wind blows in straight from center field.