Following a nine-game road trip that left them battered and bruised, the Zia softball squad found a familiar get-well card in the University of the Southwest.
Junior third baseman Erica Armendarez homered twice and drove in seven runs, and the Zias got their first wins of the season Wednesday with a 17-7, 11-0 doubleheader sweep over the visiting Mustangs at Zia Softball Field.
Eastern (2-9) went the minimum 4 1/2 innings with leads of at least eight runs in each contest and compiled a season-high 18 hits in the opener. The Zias had scored just 24 runs, and were shut out twice, in their first nine games of the season away from Portales. The team winning streak against University of the Southwest is now 11 games, with the Zias leading the overall series 26-2.
The Mustangs (2-6) jumped out early on the Zias in the opener, with Jessica Gibson hitting a two-out, two-run shot to left, and scored a trio of unearned runs on three errors in the field. But they only scored twice more the rest of the day against a trio of Eastern pitchers.
Starting pitcher Amy Smith earned the win with two earned runs over three innings, and reliever Katie Ramsay allowed a pair of runs in her two innings of work. The Zias put the game on ice with a seven-run fourth, including a two-out, three-run blast by Armendarez.
In the nightcap, sophomore Vanessa Ramirez scattered five hits, twice stranding runners on third.
Armendarez hit a grand slam to highlight a six-run third, which also included a two-run double by Ramsay.
The Zias head back on the road for five neutral-site games in the Holiday Inn @ The Falls tournament in Wichita Fallas, Texas.
The Zias will start at 10 a.m. (CST) against Arkansas Tech, then face Texas A&M International at noon. Eastern will face Arkansas Tech again 8 a.m. Saturday and East Central at 2 p.m. before finishing up against Texas A&M International at 4 p.m.