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Zias Defeat WNMU 10-7 in Opener, Lose 6-5 in Second Game

Box Score - Game #3, ENMU 9, WNMU 11
Box Score - Game #4, ENMU 8, WNMU 7

SILVER CITY, N.M. — On the final day of the four-game series, Eastern New Mexico University recorded another split by beating Western New Mexico University 10-7 in nine innings, and fell one run short in its rally attempt in the second game, a 6-5 loss, on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Mustang Field. The Zias, who have been playing on the road for five of the past six days, have attained an 11-10 overall record. The Mustangs have a 3-6 record after the series split.

Eastern took the lead in the first game on a second inning solo homerun by Tina Whitt (Sr., C, Riverside, CA/Midland College). Zia starter Amanda Nightingale (Sr., RHP, Mesquite, TX/North Central Texas College) was able to get out of a bases loaded jam in the second with a combination of good defense and pitching. With three runners on, Nightingale forced Amanda DeMerritt to hit into a fielder’s choice as Elizabeth Whipkey (So., 1B, Orange, CA/Villa Park HS) took the grounder and fired it to catcher Courtney McClasky (Sr., Keller, TX/Morningside College) for the force out at home. Nightingale got the third out with a strikeout to strand three Mustangs on the bases.

ENMU made it 2-0 in the third, taking advantage of a throwing error to get McClasky across the plate. Back-to-back RBI singles by Kelsey Kubik (Jr., RF, Tucson, AZ/Pima College) and Kristina Goodman (Jr., CF, Artesia, NM/Vernon Junior College) in the fourth gave the Zias a 4-0 lead. Kubic added an RBI double in the fifth to increase the lead to 5-0. The Mustangs got three runs back in the bottom half of the inning on an RBI single by Emily Robinson and a double by Tiffany DeVaurs that drove in two runs.

The Zias continued putting pressure on Western’s pitcher, Priscilla Garcia, adding a run in the sixth for a 6-3 lead and another run in the seventh for a four run lead. WNMU took advantage of three walks given up by Rosemary Moreno (Sr., RHP, Midland, TX/Midland College) to make up the deficit in the seventh. The Mustangs got the first run on an RBI single by DeVaurs and got the remaining three runs on a bases-clearing double by Erica Beltran to force extra innings.

In the ninth, Danielle Flores (Jr., DP, Loving, NM/Loving HS) led off with a single and she advanced to third on a double by Kubik. McClasky and Goodman followed with singles that each drove in a run for a 9-7 lead. With one out, Jessica Nocas’ (Sr., SS, Riverside, CA/Midland College) sacrifice fly to left field allowed McClasky to tag from third for a 10-7 Zia lead. Natasha Lindsey (Sr., RHP, Auburn, WA/Tusculum College), who came in relief to pitch a scoreless eighth inning, struck out two Mustangs in the ninth to improve her record to 5-3.

Eastern played from behind throughout the second game, facing a 3-0 deficit after the first inning. The Mustangs belted two homers, a solo by DeVaurs and one for two RBIs by Shaunna York, off Zia starter Lindsey in the opening inning. The Zias began their comeback immediately, getting a run in the second on an RBI single by McClasky. Nocas led off the third with a homer and with two outs, Whitt hit her second homerun of the day to tie the score at 3-3.

Moreno came in relief of Lindsay in the fifth and promptly gave up a lead-off double, an RBI single and a two-RBI homer for a 6-3 Zia deficit. Kubik was able to get the Zias to within one run in the seventh with a two-RBI double, but that wasn’t enough, as the Zias stranded two runners to end the game with the one run loss.

Whitt continued her hot hitting, as she went 4-5 in the two games, with three walks, three RBIs and six runs scored. Goodman had a very solid day at plate, going 5-9 with two RBIs and a run scored. Kubik also went 5-9 in the two games, with five RBIs and scoring five runs.

ENMU will travel to Irving, TX for the Lone Star Conference First Pitch Tournament beginning on Friday, Feb. 24 against East Central University at 9 a.m. MST. The Zias will play a 1 p.m. MST game later that day against Northeastern State University. Eastern is scheduled for games against Southeastern Oklahoma State University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University on Saturday, Feb. 25 in the last day of the tournament.