After a tough opening game to start Senior Day, the Western New Mexico University softball team regrouped and nearly pulled off the impossible in the second game. Trailing 14-6 in the seventh, the Lady Mustangs put four on the board and had a pair of runners on when the game ended to allow Texas A&M-Kingsville to escape with the 14-10 game two victory. The Javelinas won the opener 13-1 in five innings that counted as the final Lone Star Conference game of the series.
The five WNMU seniors (Aryana Gutierrez, Mariangela Garcia, Brooklyn Misenhimer, Valeria Luna and Victoria Arganda) were all honored before the game.
The first game Saturday was a tough one, as Texas A&M-Kingsville (29-25, 15-15 LSC) used a 13-run and 13-hit outburst to take the win. They opened the scoring with three in the first and two more in the second, before adding two in the fourth and six in the fifth.
WNMU (5-44, 3-27 LSC) threatened in the second when juniors Carolyn Castillo and Yasmeen Gastelum walked around a sacrifice bunt. Misenhimer then singled with a perfectly placed bunt to third to load the bases. A strikeout and fly out ended the inning leaving the Javelinas with a 5-0 lead after two.
Down to their last at-bat in the fifth, the Lady Mustangs put together three hits and a run. Junior Tycee Coplan opened the frame with a bunt single. After a fielder’s choice out, Garcia singled through the left side. A fly out followed for the second out and then Castillo drove in the run as she singled up the middle on a 0-2 pitch to plate junior Ariana Maldonado.
Six Lady Mustangs accounted for the six hits. Loren Kelly, Victoria Schoonard Saborio, Roxy Chapa, Anastasia Leibas, Rachael Longoria and Anabella Acosta-Cantu all had two hits apiece to leave Texas A&M-Kingsville. Schoonard Saborio drove in four runs, Chapa added three.
In the circle, sophomore Lyana Waddell started and went the first four innings and ended up with the loss (4-23) after allowing seven runs (four earned). Redshirt freshman Alicia Habitzreuther tossed the final inning. Sarah Gilbert went all five innings for the Javelinas to get the win (12-8) after allowing one earned run.
Game two was anything but routine, as both teams just kept bringing the offense. Texas A&M-Kingsville opened the scoring with three runs in the first. WNMU answered back in the home half when Castillo singled up the middle to score Garcia who was hit-by-pitch.
The Javelinas brought three more across in the second and then WNMU nearly came all the way back in the third. Luna started the inning with a single. After a sacrifice bunt moved her to second, Maldonado singled up the middle to put runners at the corners. Garcia drove in a run with a single up the middle that the second baseman nearly tracked down. A fielder’s choice followed for the second out and then a wild pitch moved both runners up. Redshirt sophomore Clarissa Moreno cashed in when she singled to right to score Garcia. Habitzreuther added a hit-by-pitch to load the bases for Arganda who worked a 10-pitch walk to plate a run and leave WNMU down just two, 6-4. A strikeout followed to end the inning, but WNMU was right back in it after three.
A scoreless fourth followed and then the fifth brought more fireworks. Texas A&M-Kingsville used an RBI single and three-run homer from Leibas to go in front 10-4. In the home half, Garcia singled and with one out, she scored when Moreno got just enough of a first pitch to left that hit the top of the fence and went over for a two-run homer leaving it a 10-6 game at five.
The Javelinas scored three more in the sixth and then another in the seventh to move ahead 14-6. That’s when everything got crazy. WNMU started the seventh with three straight singles by Maldonado, Garcia and Castillo to load the bases. Moreno came up again and this time it had plenty to sail over the fence as she cracked a 1-1 pitch over the center field fence for a grand slam. The offense kept rolling with Habtizreuther singling down the right field line and Arganda reaching on a fielder’s choice. A big line out to first for a double play came next, but WNMU didn’t go away, as a single by Coplan put runners at the corners before a ground out back to the pitcher ended the game.
WNMU held a 14-13 edge on hits with Moreno went 4-4 with seven RBI and two runs scored. Garcia added a 3-3 game with four runs scored and an RBI. Schoonard Saborio led the Javelinas with three hits, three runs scored and three RBI. Leibas also added three RBI on her home run.
In the circle, Habitzreuther went all seven innings for WNMU and tossing 132 pitches as she ended up with the loss (1-7) allowing 14 runs (10 earned), along with three strikeouts. Breanna Smith also tossed a complete game for the Javelinas in picking up the win (16-15) after allowing 10 earned runs and posting nine strikeouts.
WNMU will return a bevy of juniors that will be seniors next year in Coplan, Alexis Gonzalez, Maldonado, Gastelum, Castillo and Deidre Vega. Moreno will be a redshirt junior, while Justyce Millan-Martinez and Waddell will be juniors and a trio of freshmen will be sophomores in Dominique Gonzales, Grisdey Paredes-Alvarez and Habitzreuther.