The WTAMU Lady Buff softball team traveled to San Antonio for a three-game series with conference foe Incarnate Word on April 12-13 before heading to Austin to take on the St. Edward’s Hilltoppers in a doubleheader on April 14. WT lost the first two games against UIW before winning the finale; the Lady Buffs would also split the doubleheader with Hilltoppers.
In the opener on April 12, WT could not manage to score on Cardinals pitcher Briana Sanchez in a 3-0 loss. Sanchez (14-7) went the full seven innings giving up no runs on two hits with 10 strikeouts for UIW. Freshman Hannah Newcomb (12-3) got the loss for the Lady Buffs going six innings and giving up three runs on six hits.
Junior Mallory Wyatt and senior Meghan Slattery each went one-for-two providing the only offense the Lady Buffs could muster. Kim Hanson went 0 for one with two RBIs for UIW and Monica Acuna went two-for-three with an RBI and a run scored.
WT would start the scoring in the nightcap on an RBI single by sophomore Allie Cranfill in the first, but the Cardinals would plate two in the second to take a 2-1 lead. Junior Alyssa Lemos would score a game-tying run in the third on an error, but UIW’s Whitney Waltrip would also score on an error to regain a 3-2 Cardinal advantage. Freshman Brittany Gehle would tie the game with an RBI single in the fifth, but it would not be enough as a walk-off homer by Melanie Padilla sealed WT’s fate in a 4-3 loss.
Freshman Lauren Heinrich (8-1) took her first loss going 6.1 innings giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on eight hits with four strikeouts. Gehle went two-for-four with an RBI and a run scored while Cranfill went one-for-three with an RBI. Sanchez (15-7) got her second win of the day pitching two perfect innings of relief with two strikeouts.
“We didn’t do a very good job of making adjustments at the plate in Friday’s doubleheader,” Head Coach Kevin Blaskowski said. “We allowed two very good pitchers to control the game from the circle.”
UIW struck first with two runs in the first inning of the finale on Apr. 13, however an RBI double by Lemos and an RBI single by Renee Erwin in the third inning tied the game 2-2. Each team posted a run in the fourth, but the Lady Buffs would get the final blow on an RBI single by Lemos in the sixth for a 4-3 win to close the series.
“We made some adjustments and we did a good job of manufacturing offense,” said Blaskowski.
Senior Adriana Garcia (3-0) got the win pitching 6.1 innings of relief and giving up one run on five hits. Sanchez (15-8) got a decision in all three games, this time a loss going seven innings and giving up four runs on six hits. Lemos went two-for-three with two RBIs and a run scored for WT.
The Lady Buff’s 6-2 win in first game on April 14 was highlighted by homers by Erwin, her ninth of the year, and Cranfill, her eighth. Erwin’s blast scored the first two runs of the game for WT in the third inning and Cranfill’s bomb broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth. Coach Blaskowski also earned his 600th win with the victory.
“My first thought about 600 wins is that I am very fortunate to have coached long enough to achieve it,” Blaskowski said. “I have worked with some great student-athletes and assistants along the way who have made this possible for me and I thank them all.”
The second game of the afternoon was both an offensive and defensive struggle for the Lady Buffs. Three errors in the first inning led to three Hilltopper runs, and a 3-0 deficit. St. Edward’s would score five in the fifth, capped off by a walk-off two-run double by Marissa Thome for the 8-0 win over WT.
“In game two, we played sloppy on defense and allowed their pitcher to control the game from the circle,” Blaskowski said. “It was a very disappointing loss in a must win situation.”
Newcomb (12-4) got the loss going 4.1 innings and giving up seven runs, four earned, on eight hits with three strikeouts and a walk. The Hilltoppers’ Sarah Debrow threw five perfect innings with three strikeouts. Ally Valdez went two-for-two with two runs scored for SEU.
The Lady Buffs are now 32-7 overall with a 13-5 record in the Lone Star Conference. WT will return to action when they host Southern Nazarene for a doubleheader on April 16. First pitch of game one is set for 1 p.m.