Lady Chaps take two from Zias

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks ENMU senior Michelle Anderson slides safety to third base under the tag of senior Lubbock Christian’s Jennifer Frazier during the opener of Friday’s doubleheader at Zia Softball Field.

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

PORTALES — It hasn’t taken Lubbock Christian long to get its softball program going into high gear.

Now in their third season, the Lady Chaps went 114-16 in two years under Shanon Hays, winning an NAIA national title in 2008 and finishing third last year.

When Hays took the Texas Tech softball job before this season, his father, Larry, the longtime baseball coach at LCU and then Texas Tech before retiring two seasons ago, agreed to replace him at LCU.

The elder Hays debuted as LCU’s softball coach on Friday at Zia Softball Field, and the Lady Chaparrals made his day a relatively pleasant one with a 12-4, 10-6 sweep of Eastern New Mexico University.

Sophomore first baseman Kim Frazier homered in each game and drove in seven runs, five in the opener. The Lady Chaps scored in nine of their 12 turns at bat and pounded out 29 hits in the twin bill.

Hays said his squad hasn’t been able to get outside much. In fact, weekend twin bills were flipped because of field conditions at LCU, with today’s 1 p.m. (MST) twin bill now slated for Lubbock.

“We hit the ball well today, and there were some spots where Eastern did too,” Hays said. “I was pleased we played as well as we did considering (the lack of practice time).”

Frazier followed singles by Cori Enriquez and Kayla Van Dieren with a three-run shot to right-center off ENMU senior Kristen Cruickshank (3-3) in the first inning of the opener. She added a two-run double later in the game and a two-out solo homer in the first inning of the nightcap.

Priscilla Fagaines homered in the opener and Kayla Van Dieren added a two-run blast in Game 2.

The elder Hays said he had pitched batting practice for LCU the past couple of seasons, and his son got him to take over when he accepted the position at Tech.

He said Enriquez and Van Dieren, who combined for seven hits and two walks, effectively set the table.

“The middle of our lineup’s pretty good,” he said. “When those top two are getting on, we’re pretty decent.”

Down 12-1 in the fifth in the opener, the Zias (3-6) strung together a two-out rally that nearly allowed them to avoid the eight-run rule. But starter Alyssa Gutierrez, lifted after the fourth, returned to get Melissa Williams on a groundout with the bases loaded.

In the nightcap, the Zias turned a 7-0 deficit into a one-run game by erupting for six runs on seven hits in the bottom of the fifth, helped by two LCU errors. First baseman Taylor Howard had a two-run double, one of three ENMU two-baggers in the frame, but second baseman Amanda Myers made a sliding catch to her left on Jessica Childers’ two-out line drive with the go-ahead runs in scoring position.

LCU added three runs in the sixth, capped by catcher Amanda Parsons’ two-out, two-run single.

“We knew they were going to hit the ball,” first-year ENMU coach Lauren Sigwing said. “But I’m really proud of the way we battled back.

“They made the plays (in the field); give their defense credit. But a couple of inches here or there, and things might have been different.”