Zias bounce back to gain split

CNJ staff

ALAMOSA, Colo. — Senior catcher Michelle Anderson kicked off a six-run first with a two-out solo homer and Eastern New Mexico University’s softball team went on to a 12-4 rout of Adams State on Tuesday to earn a split of their double.

The Grizzlies used a five-run fourth to take the opener 8-7.

Six more batters reached after Anderson’s first homer of the season. Freshman designated player Kandice Kaiser hit a two-run single while junior left fielder Kassandra Sanchez capped the outburst with a two-run double.

The Zias (8-21) then chased starter Rachel Lovato (0-2) with six more in the top of the second, sending 12 hitters to the plate. Senior Alex Mayo Otis hit a two-run single to complete the rally and make it 12-1.

Senior Kristen Cruickshank (4-8) earned a five-inning complete game, shortened on the eight-run rule. She struck out six and gave up nine hits, including five in the fifth when the Grizzlies (5-7) scored three times before leaving two runners in scoring position.

The win was the 40th in four seasons for Cruickshank, who trails only Jennifer Harrar (46) on ENMU’s all-time lost.

Anderson, Kaiser and Kimberly Crouse each had two of the Zias’ 12 hits, and Kaiser finished with three RBIs.

In the opener, Kaiser went 2-for-4 with a two-run single in the third that gave the Zias a 4-1 lead. Shortstop Melissa Williams hit a two-run homer, her fourth, in the second.

Trailing 5-3, the Grizzlies rallied against Crouse in the bottom of the fourth as second baseman Selina Pachecho capped the rally with a two-out, three-run homer to right field off reliever Amanda Lale.

Anderson cracked a two-run single to left-center in the sixth, then took third on a double by Cruickshank before Sarah Lindquist (3-2) got Rebecca Quinones on a groundout to third.

Lindquist set the side down in order in the seventh to get a complete-game win, despite giving up 11 hits. Mayo Otis, Kaiser and Quinones each had two hits for ENMU.

With three hits in the doubleheader, Mayo Otis pulled to within five hits of the ENMU record held by Rachel Moehler (245).

The Zias travel to Durant, Okla., for a Lone Star Conference crossover tournament against North Division foes this weekend.