ABILENE, Texas — The Eastern New Mexico University softball team got relatively close to breaking its season-opening losing streak on Friday. Then the roof fell in.
Host Abilene Christian broke a 3-3 tie with five unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth to nail down an 8-3 win over ENMU (0-7) on the first day of the Wildcats’ double-round-robin softball classic. Earlier, Central Oklahoma handed the Zias a 15-4 loss.
ACU (3-2), ranked 22nd in NCAA Division II, and former Lone Star Conference member UCO (1-0), ranked 16th, played in Friday’s late game.
Today, the Zias face ACU at 11 a.m. (MST), then take on UCO again before the Wildcats and Bronchos close it out.
Sophomore shortstop Lizzy Velasquez gave the Zias a 3-2 lead against Abilene Christian with a two-run homer to left-center in the top of the fourth, chasing ACU starter Peyton Mosley. Shelby Hall (2-0) retired 11 of the final 12 Zias hitters to nail down the win, striking out three.
Catcher Cara Hoover tied the game for the Wildcats with a one-out homer in the bottom half off ENMU starter Amy Smith (0-1). Then ACU took advantage of three Zias errors in the sixth to score five runs on only three hits, including a two-run double by left fielder Madison Buckley.
Smith allowed seven hits and six runs — three earned — in 5 1/3 innings, with three walks and one strikeout. ENMU’s only baserunner against Hall came on an infield error to start the sixth inning.
In the first game, freshman catcher Kyra Sirag broke up a shutout bid by UCO’s Amanda McClelland with a one-out grand slam in the top of the fifth, but the game was called after 4 1/2 innings because of the eight-run rule.
The Bronchos jumped on ENMU sophomore Katie Ramsay for four runs in the bottom of the first and six more in the second. They finished with 16 hits, including two home runs and five RBIs by third baseman Kacie Edwards, a leadoff homer by second baseman Ally Dziadula in the second and a grand slam latter in that inning by right fielder Brooke Zukerman.
McClelland carried a two-hitter into the fifth before the Zias loaded the bases on a leadoff walk to third baseman Erica Armendarez, an error and a one-out single to left by Beatriz Caporal. Sirag then drilled a 1-0 pitch over the right-center field barrier before McClelland came back to get Lizzy Velasquez and Ramsay on fly balls to the outfield.