LAS VEGAS, N.M. — The Eastern New Mexico University softball team won’t make the Lone Star Conference tournament, but the Zias still have one goal in their sights — a .500 season.
Junior left-hander Natalie Woodside protected a slim lead with four innings of relief and the Zias pulled away with three runs in the top of the seventh to beat New Mexico Highlands 7-4 Tuesday, completing a doubleheader sweep.
ENMU (25-28) won the opener 8-1. The Zias (3-12 LSC South) finish their season with a three-game division series against Texas Woman’s, starting Friday at Zia Softball Field.
ENMU went 5-0 for the season against the Cowgirls (9-42), but Tuesday’s games were closer than the others in which the Zias outscored Highlands 29-4.
Sophomore second baseman Rebecca Quinones capped a four-run seventh inning in the opener with a three-run homer, her third of the season. Sophomore Kristen Cruickshank (12-10) pitched a seven-hitter for the win, walking none and striking out seven.
Cruickshank hit an RBI single in the second, and the Zias went up 3-0 in the fourth on sacrifice flies by Casandra McCommons and Tawna Lei Tagaloa.
McCommons doubled home another run in the sixth before the Cowgirls broke up the shutout in the bottom half on a double by Pam Apodaca, a single by Heather Hamilton and a sacrifice fly by Natasha Reyes.
Alex Mayo Otis led a 10-hit ENMU attack, going 3-for-4, while Quinones, McCommons and Anna Hershkowitz all added two hits.
Leading 3-2 in the second game, Woodside relieved starter Nicole Dickson after a leadoff single by Highland’s Martina Chavez in the fourth. Each team scored in the sixth before the Zias broke it open in the seventh with a rally capped by Mayo Otis’ two-run single.
The Zias took advantage of five Highlands errors in the nightcap, although only two of the runs off Karlee Trione (3-23) were unearned. Both teams finished with 12 hits, with ENMU’s Laura Thompson and Highland’s Sandra Pulido each finishing 3-for-4.