Zias beaten twice by Angelo State

Eastern New Mexico University junior Kyleigh Harris slides head first into home plate as she is safe to tie Angelo State in extra innings of their first game Friday in Portales. Photo by Eric Kluth

By Dave Wagner

PORTALES — Finally getting to play at home for the first time more than six weeks wasn’t enough to help Eastern New Mexico University’s softball team Friday.

The Zias hung tough through a near-four-hour marathon in the opener before losing to Lone Star Conference South Division pre-season favorite Angelo State 9-8 on catcher Julia Monsivais’ two-run homer in the top of the 11th. They then went down meekly 10-2 in the second game, called after five because of the eight-run rule.

It was the team’s first appearance at Zia Softball Field since losing a season-opening twin bill to Colorado State-Pueblo on Feb. 4, but first-year ENMU coach Kevin Blaskowski wasn’t in the mood to hear any “almost” about the marathon first game.

“Being at home or on the road doesn’t matter that much,” he said. “Sometimes it’s nice to play on the road because it’s easier to stay focused.

“I’m really disappointed with our effort in the second game. Good teams come back from (tough losses).”

ENMU (9-17, 0-2 South) rallied twice in extra innings to keep the first game going — including four runs in the bottom of the eighth. But the Zias left the potential winning run in scoring position in the seventh, eighth and 10th innings.

ASU senior pitcher Claudia Lopez struck out 15 of the 31 batters she faced in the opener, but couldn’t get ENMU out in the eighth with a 6-2 lead. The Zias’ Stacy Gonzales bounced a two-run single up the middle off reliever Arin Spence (9-2) to tie it.

Monsivais then hit her second home run of the season in the 11th off Maegan Rhoten (2-6), and the Rambelles (18-5, 2-0) held on for the win.

“It was a heck of a way to open Lone Star Conference (South) play,” first-year ASU coach Travis Scott said. “You’ve got to give Eastern New Mexico credit for that first game.”

Lopez (9-3) returned to the circle in the nightcap and breezed to the win, pitching four strong innings. She gave up a two-run double to the Zias’ Cassandra Gonzales in the fourth.

Meantime, the Rambelles scored in all five innings, getting home runs from Lori Hernandez, Moreno and Monsivais’ backup, Jessica Stroud.

Lopez and Spence both have earned runs averages well under 2.00, and aren’t used to getting hit around much. But the Rambelles’ offense helped make up for it.

“We’ve got two great pitchers,” Scott said. “Claudia looked like she was getting tired in the first game, so we brought Arin in and they hit her.

“But we’ve been hitting the ball well for the last two weeks now. We went through a stretch where we couldn’t hit a beach ball.”

ENMU sophomore second baseman Tracy Jordan went 5-for-7 for the day, driving in three runs with three hits in the opener. Rhoten tied the first game 2-2 in the fifth with her second home run of the season, a drive off the scoreboard in left-center field.

First game
Angelo State 9, ENMU 8
Angelo State 000 200 040 12 — 9 12 3
ENMU 100 100 040 11 — 8 8 2
Claudia Lopez, Arin Spence (8) and Julia Monsivais; Maegan Rhoten, Lauren King (9), Rhoten (10) and Courtney McClasky. W — Spence (9-2). L — Rhoten (2-6). DP — Angelo State 1. LOB — Angelo State 13, ENMU 6. 2B — Angelo State: Wing 2, Payan. ENMU: Jordan. HR — Angelo State: Cat Moreno (3), Monsivais (2). ENMU: Rhoten (2). T — 3:43. A — 50.

Second game
Angelo State 10, ENMU 2
Angelo State 114 13 —10 14 0
ENMU 000 20 — 2 4 0
Lopez, Lori Hernandez (5) and Monsivais, Jessica Stroud (4); Lauren King, Ashley Maier (3) and Liz Navarro. W — Lopez (9-3). L — King (3-7). LOB — Angelo State 4, ENMU 2. 2B — Angelo State: Michelle Hoffman, Monsivais, Diana Faulkner. ENMU: Cassandra Gonzales. HR — Angelo State: Hernandez (1), Moreno (4), Stroud (2). T — 1:38. A — 30.