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Zias Provide Two Shutout Wins In Home Opener Against CSW

Box Score - Game 1 - ENMU 17, CSW 0
Box Score - Game 2 - ENMU 4, CSW 0

PORTALES, N.M.Amanda Nightingale (Sr., RHP, Mesquite, TX/North Central Texas College) and Rosemary Moreno (Sr., RHP, Midland, TX/Midland HS) kept the College of the Southwest scoreless in both games of a double-header in the home opener for Eastern New Mexico University on Friday, March 3 at Zia Softball Field. With the 17-0 and 4-0 victories, the Zias improved their record to 14-10 this season and remained undefeated against CSW (8-0). The Lady Mustangs, competing in their second year in softball in the NAIA, dropped their record to 4-10 overall.

Nightingale, coming off a 3-0 win last week over East Central University, was in complete control throughout the opener. In the run-rule five inning game, Nightingale gave up only one hit, while striking out 10 Lady Mustangs to improve her record to 3-2 this season. Moreno gave up only six hits, spread out over six innings, in the second game shutout. She allowed only one runner to reach base on balls while pitching a complete seven-inning game and improved her record to 6-5.

ENMU’s offense scored early and often against CSW’s Stephanie Ganaway. Kristina Goodman (Jr., CF, Artesia, NM/Vernon Junior College) led off the first inning with a single, then stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a walk to Christina Helland (So., RF, Albuquerque, NM/Rio Rancho HS), Jessica Nocas (Sr., SS, Riverside, CA/Midland College) doubled in both runners for a 2-0 Zia lead. Elizabeth Whipkey’s (So., 1B, Orange, CA/Villa Park HS) single advanced Nocas to third and Tina Whitt cleared the bases with a three-run homer to give Eastern a 5-0 advantage at the end of one inning.

In the second inning, CSW was able to load the bases on three walks, but Nightingale struck out all the other batters she faced. Eastern sent 12 batters to the plate in its half of the inning. The Zias scored eight runs in the inning, highlighted by a two-RBI double by Whitt, an RBI single by Brianna Darnell (Fr., 3B/Farmington, NM/Piedra Vista HS) and a two-RBI triple by Goodman. Whipkey hit a two-run homer in the third and Helland hit one out of the park for two more runs in the fourth inning to close out Eastern’s run totals in the game.

Seven Zias recorded hits in the first game, led by a perfect 3-3 by Darnell who scored three runs and drove in one run. Whitt was credited with five RBIs, going 2-3 at the plate and scoring one run. Goodman, Helland, Nocas and Whipkey each drove in two runs. Helland and Nocas equaled Darnell with three runs scored apiece.

It took until the third inning for Eastern to get on the scoreboard in the second game, facing CSW’s Cristan Hogan. Helland provided a solo homerun in the inning for a 1-0 lead. In the fourth inning, the Zias’ Courtney McClasky (Sr., C, Keller, TX/Morningside College) doubled-in Tracy Jordan (Sr., 2B, Rosamond, CA/Desert HS), who had walked to lead off the inning. With two outs, Helland hit a two-RBI double to give the Zias a 4-0 lead. She was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple. Moreno was able to hold off CSW the rest of the way. Helland was a perfect 3-3 in the game with three RBIs and a run scored. McClasky went 2-2 at the plate with one run batted in and a walk.

Eastern will wrap up the series against CSW on Saturday, March 4 with a double-header starting at 12 p.m. MST. The Zias will travel to Las Vegas, NM on Tuesday, March 7 to take on New Mexico Highlands University in a double-header scheduled for 1 p.m. MST. ENMU will begin LSC South Division play with a weekend series beginning on Friday, March 10 in Stephenville, TX against Tarleton State University.