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Zias Split Double-Header at WNMU, Losing Opener 11-9, then Winning 8-7

Box Score - Game #1, ENMU 9, WNMU 11
Box Score - Game #2, ENMU 8, WNMU 7

SILVER CITY, N.M. — A two out homer by Tiffany DeVaurs in the bottom of the eighth gave Western New Mexico University an 11-9 win in the opener and Eastern New Mexcio University won the second game 8-7 as Tina Whitt (Sr., C, Riverside, CA/Midland College) belted two homers on Monday, Feb. 20 at Mustang Field. The split gave the Zias a 10-9 overall record and the Mustangs a 2-5 record.

Eastern took the lead in the first inning of the opener on a two-RBI double by Elizabeth Whipkey (So., 1B, Orange, CA/Villa Park HS) that drove in Christina Helland (So., LF, Albuquerque, NM/Rio Rancho HS) and Kristina Goodman (Jr., CF, Artesia, NM/Artesia HS). Western got a run in the bottom of the inning on a solo homer by lead-off batter Meredith Drahota.

Eastern’s bats scored six runs in the third inning off pitcher Priscilla Garcia. After back-to-back doubles by Goodman and Helland scored the first run, Jessica Nocas (Sr., SS, Riverside, CA/Midland College) homered for a 5-1 Zia lead. Tracy Jordan (Sr. 2B, Rosamond, CA/Desert HS) and Courtney McClasky (Sr., C, Keller, TX/Morningside HS) each recorded RBI-doubles as ENMU closed out the inning with an 8-1 advantage.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Mustangs began to claw their way back, scoring five runs on five hits to trail by two runs. After Eastern stranded two baserunners in the fifth, WNMU’s Debbie Yescas lead off the bottom of the inning with a homerun for an 8-7 score. In the seventh, Goodman’s single knocked in Whitt to give the Zias a 9-7 lead. Western forced extra innings with two runs in the bottom of the seventh on a two-RBI single by Erica Beltran. Eastern stranded two runners on base in the eigth to set up DeVaurs heriocs for Westerns second victory of the season.

Helland and Jordan led the Zias with three RBIs apiece. Western’s Beltran also knocked in three runs. Rosemary Moreno (Sr., RHP, Midland, TX/Midland HS) started for the Zias, giving up seven runs in six innings pitched. Amanda Nightingale (Sr., RHP, Mesquite, TX/North Central Texas College) was credited with the loss (1-2), giving up four runs in one and two-thirds innings. Garcia pitched a complete game to record her first victory of the year.

In the second game, Jordan gave the Zias a 1-0 lead with a first inning single to drive in Goodman from third base. Danielle Flores (Jr., DP, Loving, NM/Loving HS) scored a run off a single by McKlasky in the second to put Eastern up 2-0. Western took the lead in the third as three singles drove-in three runs. Natasha Lindsey (Sr., RHP, Auburn, WA/Tusculum College) was able to get out of the inning by stranding three runners on base.

ENMU retook the lead in the fourth, as Whitt led off with a homer and the Zias took advantage of three Mustang errors to score two runs for a 5-3 lead. WNMU tied the game in its half of the inning, scoring two runs on four hits while stranding two runners. Whitt’s RBI-double drove in Jordan from first base for a 6-5 lead in the fifth. Western retied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a solo homer by Meridith Drahota.

After a lead-off single in the seventh, Whitt hit a two-out, two RBI home run to give Eastern an 8-6 advantage. In the bottom of the inning, Moreno was able to record two outs before Drahota hit an RBI double, but her attempt to stretch it out to a triple was thwarted by the Zia defense. Kelsey Kubik’s (Jr., RF, Tucson, AZ/Pima College) throw from right field was cut-off by Whipkey who fired her throw to Whitt at third base to tag Drahota for the final out of the game.

Moreno pitched the final two and one-third innings, giving up one run as she improved to 5-3 this season. Whitt went 3-4 at the plate with two homers and four RBIs. Western was led by Cassidy Caringi and Drahota who each recorded two RBIs.
Eastern will play another double-header on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at Western beginning at 11 a.m. MST. The Zias will be traveling to Irving, Texas for the LSC Crossover Tournament on Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25. ENMU is scheduled to play East Central University and Northeastern State University at 9 a.m. MST and 1 p.m. MST, respectively, on the first day of the tourney. Saturday’s schedule begins with a 9 a.m. MST match-up against Southeastern Oklahoma State University followed by a 1 p.m. MST game against Southwestern Oklahoma State University.