Softball, Sports, Women's Basketball, Women's Sports

LBSU face UC Davis to open up Big West play

Looking to put its inconsistencies in non-conference play behind, Long Beach State (LBSU) will take on UC Davis in a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday at the 49er Softball Complex.

The 49ers (13-18) were on an eight-game losing streak before winning their last three non-conference games. Head coach Kim Sowder said she was happy with the way her team closed out, but was also a bit disappointed with the missed opportunities against big rivals.

“We knew we had a tough schedule,” Sowder said. “But I think the part that ended up being tough is that we were in so many games and had great chances to win some big games.”

LBSU lost a five-run lead in the seventh in an 8-7 extra-inning loss against No. 14 Auburn on March 5. A 2-1 defeat against No. 13 Arizona on March 7 came down to a pitcher’s duel, and they stuck around for six innings only to lose 12-3 against No. 2 Oregon on March 8.

Sowder’s team managed to snap its skid in a historic game against New Mexico State on March 14. Sophomore right-hander Christina Clermont delivered a perfect game and junior infielder Darian Tautalafua hit her school record-breaking 31st home run in a 9-0 victory.

The 49ers followed up the remarkable performance with two wins against Weber State and Utah State the following day. They ended on somewhat of a high note before facing the Big West, starting with UC Davis (11-14).

“I think with the rough start we had we just need to go back to the basics,” senior outfielder Leilani Tupua-Tautalatasi said. “Back to what Long Beach knows how to do.”

The Aggies are off to a similar rough stretch in non-conference play. Davis lost its first four games of the season, with three of the losses coming against opponents from power conferences. However, Sowder said it would be a mistake to underestimate anyone in the Big West.

“[Davis] got a new coaching staff this year,” Sowder said. “They’re always a very competitive program. In [the Big West] you need to take it one game at a time. Any team can beat any team in our conference.”

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