ARCATA, Calif. -- With the team ranked 13th in home runs per game in NCAA Division II going up against the fifth-ranked team, long balls were bound to happen on Monday afternoon.
It was a ranked showdown of two of the best-power hitting teams as No. 3 California Baptist and No. 6 Humboldt State faced off against each other, with the Lancers coming out victorious. CBU opened with a 10-8 come-from-behind victory and followed with another rally to win the nightcap 4-3.
“We seem to find a way to come back and get it,” head coach Bill Baber said. “We don’t give up. That’s what I love about this team. It was a total team effort today, everybody got involved.”
The Lancers improve to 24-7 overall with the non-conference doubleheader sweep, while the Lumberjacks drop to 24-9 on the season.
“Two amazing wins today,” Baber said. “We were never out of it. To hang in there with such a phenomenal team like HSU is amazing.”
CBU -- which ranks 13th in Division II for home runs per game -- hit three long shots, with Ashley DeVaere knocking two, including a clutch grand slam. DeVaere went 3-for-5 on the day, tallying seven RBI and four runs. Marshean August also hit a home run for one of her three hits Monday.
HSU jumped on the board first in the opening inning, plating three runs off two hits, and kept the Lancers from even grabbing a hit in their first two chances at the plate.
Trailing 3-0, CBU finally broke through the Jacks’ defensive barrier in the third, scoring two runs off two hits and an error. With two outs and DeVaere on second, August blasted the first homer of the day, sending it sailing over the fence in center to put the Lancers within one at 3-2.
The Jacks answered right back, however, hitting their own two-run long shot over the left field fence to add some insurance runs at 5-2.
It seemed the run-scoring bug had been caught as the Lancers again stepped up to the plate and added to their tally. Rachel Meyer started a two-out rally with a double to right field and was pinch ran for by Heather Smith. DeVaere took her spot in the batter’s box and rocketed her first homer of the day to left, cutting the home team’s lead to 5-4.
Once again, HSU responded in the bottom half of the inning, scoring two more runs off two hits to lead 7-4. The Jacks managed to keep the Lancers off the board in the fifth, but also couldn’t produce on offense in their turn at the plate.
With bases loaded and two outs, Jordan Mowatt came up with a crucial base hit to score two runners, once again putting the visitors within one.
HSU tacked on another insurance run in the bottom half of the sixth, putting pressure on the Lancers to score runs in what could be their last chance on offense. Krista Mann, who went 5-for-8 on the day, led the inning off with a double to center and was joined on base by Savannah Miller and Willingham with just one out.
The Jacks looked to be in the clear as they got the second out, but none other than DeVaere was on deck. DeVaere came up clutch and blasted her second homer of the day right over the fence in center to put CBU in front 10-8.
“[Before Ashley went up to bat] we were saying as long as we had an out, we were still in it,” Baber said. “It was unbelievable. She got a hold of it and it just carried over dead center. I’m happy for her. She’s been working really hard so it was huge for her to come up with a hit like that.”
Despite surrendering a hit in the bottom half, the Lancers held on for the 10-8 victory for Belinda Renne’s 16th win of the season.
Looking to build off the first game, the Lancers opened the nightcap by scoring first. August led off with a single through the left side and made her way to third off a Mann base hit. Savannah Miller kept the base-hit rally going and scored August to put CBU in front 1-0.
The Lancers added to their score in the top of the third as August reached on a fielding error and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Savannah Miller. The other half of the Miller sisters, London Miller, then doubled to right center to give August the green light to round third and tag home.
Down 2-0, HSU woke up in the bottom half of the inning and took the lead at 3-2 off four hits. Tonya Walker knocked a home run to start the scoring spree and a Sarah Fox single scored the other two.
CBU kept quiet in the fourth, but evened the game in the fifth off two hits and a Lumberjack error. August doubled to left and advanced to scoring position at third off a single from Mann. A costly fielding error by the first baseman then allowed August to score her fourth run of the day.
The Lancer defense prevented the Jacks from responding in the bottom of the sixth to once again get a chance at the plate. Mann led off with a single to right and the bases loaded with no outs, giving CBU a good chance of adding the go-ahead run.
HSU grabbed the first out, but DeVaere singled to move the runners and allow Mann to score before the Jacks could make the second and third putouts.
Ahead by one at 4-3, the Lancers just needed three outs to end the game with the victory but saw pressure mount as the bases loaded with Lumberjacks and just one out. Jacque Lopez snagged a pop fly for the second out, but runners moved to scoring position on a wild pitch. CBU kept its cool and DeVaere sealed the victory with a routine ground ball.
“Kayla Hatch threw some great pitches for us and we had some good defense behind her,” Baber said. “Our defense held it together. No one panicked when they had runners in scoring position and just needed a base hit to score.”