SOFTBALL: Okazaki’s RBI Triple Helps HIU Sweep Vanguard

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COSTA MESA — The Royals traveled to Vanguard (18-9, 8-5 GSAC) April 14 to face the Lions for the first time this season.

Melanie Okazaki

The last time these two teams matched up was May 2, 2019, when the Royals beat the Lions 5-0 to take the GSAC Tournament Title. The Royals advance to 21-2 overall on the season and 12-1 in GSAC after Allie Puente threw a one-hit shutout in Game 1 and the Royals took Game 2 3-2 in their second extra-inning game of the day.

Game 1

The Royals and Lions found themselves in a pitcher’s duel throughout the entirety of the first game, with both teams hitless until Skyler Mao hit a single in the fourth inning.

Nicole Wise led off the fifth inning as she roped a ball to left field, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Caitlyn Felina but the Royals stranded Wise at second base and kept the game deadlocked at 0-0.

The Royals continued to look for the game-changing hit as they stranded two base runners in the top of the seventh.

Pitcher Puente continued to hold the Lions to just one hit through seven innings of work and sent the game into extra innings.

Due to the international tie-breaker rule, Melanie Okazaki finally got the break the Royals needed in the top of the eighth inning as she drove the first offering from Vanessa Dwyer down the right-field line for a triple to score Kassie Puente and put the Royals up 2-0 after scoring on a Lions error on the play.

Wise and Okazaki both went 2-3 in Game 1, while Mao and Kassie Puente each collected a hit.

Game 2

The Royals put a pair of runs on the board in the third inning loading the bases with walks, followed by Emily Puente and Wise drawing two bases-loaded walks.

The Lions countered with their first runs of the day in the third inning to tie the game up at 2-2.

Both teams remained scoreless through the next four innings to send the game into extra innings for the second straight game.

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