The number five nationally ranked WTAMU Lady Buff softball team traveled to Denton, Texas to battle the number eight ranked Texas Woman’s Pioneers in a three game series to determine the Lone Star Conference regular season champion on April 26 and 27. WT won the first game but lost both games of the doubleheader to lose the conference lead by one game in the last conference game this season.
The Lady Buffs opened the scoring of the series opener on April 26 with junior Alyssa Lemos’ ninth homer of the season in the top of the third inning for a 1-0 lead. The Pioneers answered in the bottom of the inning when junior Haley Colwell scored on a groundout by senior Lizzy Kelly. WT grabbed the 2-1 victory in the ninth when junior Mallory Wyatt scored on an error by the TWU shortstop.
“All three games were pitcher dominated,” Head Coach Kevin Blaskowski said. “Friday night, we were fortunate to take advantage of a couple mistakes and Lauren [Heinrich] did a great job of pitching out of a ninth inning jam.”
The freshman Heinrich (11-1) got the win going 5.1 innings and giving up no runs on two hits with seven strikeouts in her relief appearance. The Lady Buff’s starter, freshman Hannah Newcomb went 3.2 innings and gave up one run on three hits with three strikeouts. TWU junior Brandie Lander (19-6) got the loss pitching all nine innings, giving up three hits, two runs, one earned and striking out 11.
In game one of the doubleheader on April 27, the Pioneers struck first in the third on an RBI single by junior Amanda Ruiz. Ruiz came around to score on a wild pitch later in the inning for a 2-0 TWU advantage. WT mounted a rally in the fourth when freshman Brittany Gehle scored on a groundout by junior Jessica Sipe to cut the deficit to 2-1. However, the Pioneers pushed three runs across in their half of the inning to seal the 5-1 win.
Newcomb (16-5) got the loss giving up five runs on seven hits with three strikeouts. TWU’s senior Larisa Garcia (13-1) pitched a complete game giving up one run on three hits with five strikeouts. Sipe went one-for-three for WT with an RBI and Gehle was 0 for three with a run scored.
In the nightcap, the Lady Buffs took a 2-0 lead after a first inning triple by Sipe and a solo homerun by sophomore Renee Erwin, her fourteenth this season. The Pioneers got a run across in the third on a sac fly by Kelly. TWU overtook WT in the sixth when they got a homerun by senior Jordan Readicker and an RBI single by Colwell for the 3-2 win that clinched the LSC regular season title for Texas Woman’s.
“It was frustrating to lose the LSC title, but that was not our main goal,” Blaskowski said. “We wanted to make the NCAA post-season as a number one seed and we will probably not do that unless we win the LSC tourney. That’s our goal now.”
The Lady Buffs now stand with a record of 41-10 overall and finish with a 20-7 mark in the LSC. WT will close out their regular season in Canyon on April 30 against number three Southeastern Oklahoma State. First pitch of the doubleheader will be a noon.