The Western New Mexico University softball team pulled off the unthinkable Thursday. Down to their last at-bat and final out, the Lady Mustangs reeled off three straight baserunners to come back from four down to defeat CSU-Pueblo 8-7 in the second game of the Dixie State/Easton Classic. In the first game of the day, MSU Denver used a late home run to take the 5-2 victory.
“Overall good team win, bench played a huge role for us,” Head Coach Elsa Cocker said. “We fought to the very end and really came together as a team. Going in, Alicia didn’t have any hits and then she comes through with the game-winning hit. She drilled it to dead center and we thought it was going to leave the yard.”
Sophomore Lyana Waddell kept the Roadrunners off balance throughout the game, as she kept them in check through the first five innings. The offense piled up eight hits, as junior Ariana Maldonado had both a double and home run. Redshirt freshman Alicia Habitzreuther added two hits.
MSU Denver (2-5) struck first with a home run in the second and then added an unearned run in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead. Maldonado added a solo home run in the fifth to get the Lady Mustangs (1-6) on the board and then they came back to tie in the sixth.
With one out, Habitzreuther reached on a hit-by-pitch. Freshman Grisdey Paredes-Alvarez singled to left-center to put runners at the corners. Redshirt sophomore Clarissa Moreno added a hit back to the pitcher that was misplayed as the throw sailed to the plate and allowed Habitzreuther to score the tying run. With runners still at the corners, the Roadrunners worked out of the jam getting a pop up and a ground out to leave the game tied at two after the top of the sixth.
In the home half, MSU Denver delivered the big blow as they took advantage of an error and a hit-by-pitch when Kristyn Peters hit a three-run homer to center on the first pitch to give the Roadrunners a 5-2 lead after six.
In the seventh, WNMU got a double by Maldonado, but she was left stranded as a strikeout and ground out ended the game.
While Maldonado and Habitzreuther led the offense, senior Mariangela Garcia, Paredes-Alvarez and junior Yasmeen Gastelum added hits. In the circle, Waddell went all six innings and ended up with the loss (0-3) despite allowing just three earned runs.
Peters powered the Roadrunners as she went 3-3 with five RBI and a pair of runs scored. In the circle, Destinee Lopez went the first three innings and didn’t allow a run. Darby McGhee tossed the final four innings in relief to get the win (1-2) as she gave up just two earned runs and added six strikeouts.
In the second game of the day, WNMU just kept battling and found a way to win. Trailing 7-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Mustangs came together in a big way. Paredes-Alvarez opened the frame reaching on an error by the shortstop. That led to Moreno singling up the middle and then Gastelum followed with a single through the left side to load the bases. Redshirt junior Brooklyn Misenhimer worked a walk to bring the deficit to three. Following a fly out and a fielder’s choice groundout that plated a run and also marked the second out, the rally kept going. Senior Aryana Gutierrez singled up the middle to plate the sixth run of the game. After Garcia walked, everyone moved up on a wild pitch as Maldonado scored on the play to tie the game. That brought Habitzreuther to the dish and she came through with a line drive shot off the center field fence to bring in the game-winning run and the 8-7 victory.
CSU-Pueblo (1-1) opened the scoring with one in the first. WNMU evened the game in the third when Garcia drove in Maldonado after she led off the inning with a double. The Lady Mustangs took their first lead of the game in the fourth when Maldonado doubled down the left field line to score Misenhimer who pinch-ran for senior Victoria Arganda.
The ThunderWolves then added three in the fifth and two more in the sixth to move in front 6-2. WNMU got one back in the sixth when Garcia singled in Gastelum with two outs. CSU-Pueblo then added one final run in the top of the seventh to take a 7-3 lead into the home half.
Maldonado, Gutierrez, Garcia and Gastelum all had two hits, with Maldonado and Garcia driving in two runs apiece. In the circle, Waddell went the final two innings to get the win (1-2), giving up three earned runs. Sophomore Thalia O’Neill started the game and went the first five innings, allowing four earned runs.
CSU-Pueblo was paced by Gabby Moreno and Michaela Burpee as both tallied three hits. Moreno, Burpee and Marissa Piatt had two RBI apiece. In the circle, Laci Lashley went the first 3.2 innings and allowed one earned run. Hannah Anderson (1-1) took the loss after going the final three innings and she allowed just one earned run.