PORTALES — Junior Kristen Cruickshank pitched a two-hitter in the opener and went 3-for-4 at the plate in both games as the Eastern New Mexico University softball team got back on the winning track by sweeping New Mexico Highlands 9-1 and 15-7 on Tuesday at Zia Softball Field.
Cruickshank (10-10) limited Highlands to an unearned run in the top of the fifth inning in the first game while knocking in three runs with an RBI single in the first and a two-run single in ENMU’s five-run second.
The Zias (22-20) collected 12 hits in the opener off Highland’s Ashley Paiz. Junior Alex Mayo Otis was 3-for-3 and senior Laura Thompson went 2-for-3, each hitting a double and a triple and combining to score five runs, while junior Kimberly Crouse’s second RBI single ended the game in the bottom of the fifth on the eight-run rule.
In the nightcap, the Cowgirls (8-38) overcame an early three-run deficit, scoring in each of the first five innings and taking a 7-5 lead with two runs in the top of the fifth.
The Zias sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom half of the inning, scoring eight runs against reliever Diana Garcia (0-6).
Crouse (11-9) allowed 13 hits and seven runs — five earned — in five innings, but hung around long enough to pick up the win. Aguirre hit a three-run homer, her third of the season, to put the Zias in front 8-7 in the fifth and the rally also included RBI singles by Mayo Otis and Cruickshank, a two-run single by Crouse and an RBI fielder’s choice by Amanda Terry.
The Zias outhit Highland 18-13 in the nightcap, with seven players collecting at least two hits. Williams finished 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs.
ENMU completes its Lone Star Conference schedule by hosting Abilene Christian in a three-game series, beginning with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Friday. The Zias end their season on Tuesday with a pair of games at Oklahoma Panhandle State.