Local sports events

Starting a three-match road swing in Oklahoma Friday, the Western New Mexico University tennis teams faced a tough challenge from Cameron University as the Aggies took both matches, 9-0 on the women’s side and 8-1 on the men’s side in Lone Star Conference action.

On the women’s side, WNMU (2-14, 0-3 LSC) went against #15 Cameron (11-5, 2-1 LSC) and the Aggies started strong grabbing all three doubles points. Nadia Justiniano/Karina Diaz at No. 2 won three games, 3-8, Jeanne Kolb/Klara Smolikova tallied two games at the top flight, 2-8, while Kaycie Cormier/Christine Roerick ran into a tough matchup at No. 3, 0-8.

Backed by a solid final round by junior Shelby Turner, the Western New Mexico University women’s golf team continued to climb up the leaderboard as they finished in 10th after the second and final round of the West Texas A&M Invite wrapped up at the par 72, 5,978 yard Lodge at Ventana Canyon Course.

WNMU as a team gained a spot moving up to 10th with rounds of 322 and 318 for a 640. They bested No. 46 ranked UC Colorado Springs by two-strokes. St. Mary’s and host West Texas A&M tied for the top spot with 600’s in the 17-team field, holding off third-place Lynn by six-shots. Individually, CSU-San Marcos’ Jaime Jacob won the individual title by three-shots with a two-under 142.

After tying for third after the first day, the Western New Mexico University men’s golf team went toe-to-toe with several ranked teams on the final day before settling for sixth after the third and final round of the Mustang Intercollegiate concluded Tuesday at the par 72, 7,015 yard Palm Valley Golf Club.

Sophomore Pedro De La Vega continued to burn it up for the Mustangs as he was pushing for the title before settling into a tie for eighth. He helped WNMU finish in sixth with rounds of 279-285-284 for an 848 to finish four-shots clear of No. 28 Simon Fraser. No. 44 Dixie State fought back from third to win the 20-team field with an 839 to hold off No. 34 Colorado School of Mines. UC Colorado Springs’ Jack Duguid and Dixie State’s Nicklaus Britt tied for the top spot after both posted 204’s. Britt used a par during the playoff hole the two played to take home the individual title.

Klara Smolikova is off to a 2-0 start to the Lone Star Conference season as she added another singles victory against Angelo State. The Western New Mexico University women’s tennis team hung tough in several singles matches and claimed a doubles point, but the Belles were too strong and claimed the 7-2 conference win Saturday.

WNMU (2-13, 0-2 LSC) used a tough battle from Kaycie Cormier/Christine Roerick at No. 3 doubles to pick up a point, as they went back-and-forth before converting a late break for the 8-6 win. Angelo State (13-5, 2-1 LSC) rallied at the top two doubles spots to take a 2-1 lead as Smolikova/Jeanne Kolb at the top flight and Karina Diaz/Nadia Justiniano at No. 2 each won three games in their matches before falling by the same scores of 3-8.

All four games of the series were offensive showdowns and after the Western New Mexico University softball team outscored Midwestern State 20-16 to take two Thursday, Midwestern State held a 22-17 scoring edge on Friday to claim both games from the Lady Mustangs 14-10 and 8-7.

The first game of the series completed the three-game Lone Star Conference slate, while the fourth game was a non-conference, regional contest.Midwestern State (13-16, 7-14 LSC) got things going with a pair of runs in the first game of the day. In the home half, redshirt freshman Alicia Habitzreuther lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score junior Tycee Coplan who walk to begin the inning.

A solo shot in the second moved MSU out to a 3-1 lead just to watch WNMU (4-31, 2-16 LSC) come back to take the lead. After an out, junior Yasmeen Gastelum singled and freshman Dominique Gonzales and Coplan walked to load the bases. Junior Ariana Maldonado ripped a shot to second for a hit to drive in a run and on the play, the second baseman threw the ball away to allow another run to score to tie the game at three. Freshman Grisdey Paredes-Alvarez closed the inning with an RBI single to left to give WNMU a 4-3 lead after two.

MSU kept the offensive barrage going with four runs on three hits in the third to pull back ahead 7-4. They had the advantage out to five at 9-4 after plating two more in the fourth. WNMU got back on the scoreboard in the fifth when junior Carolyn Castillo singled to left-center to score Paredes-Alvarez who singled to start the inning.

Following a big fifth inning for MSU in which they scored four runs on three hits to move out to a 13-5 lead, WNMU refused to go away. Needing to score a run to keep the game going in the home half, the Lady Mustangs plated three. Gonzales opened with a double and after a walk and hit-by-pitch, Habitzreuther walked with the bases loaded for an RBI. Castillo then delivered the big shot when she ripped a double down the left field line to score two and pull WNMU to within five at 13-8 after five.

Following a rare three-up, three-down sixth inning for both teams, the seventh was as wild as ever. MSU scored another run in the top of the inning to go ahead 14-8. Down to their last at-bat, WNMU did all they could to make a run at it. Maldonado doubled to open the frame and after back-to-back hit-by-pitches loaded the bases, senior Mariangela Garcia doubled down the left field line to score a pair. Back to within four, the Lady Mustangs weren’t able to fight all the way back as a pair of strikeouts and a ground out back to the pitcher ended the game.

MSU held a 16-10 advantage on hits as seven players had a hit for WNMU. Maldonado, Paredes-Alvarez and Castillo all posted two hits apiece, while Castillo drove in three. Habitzreuther and Garcia added two RBI each. Tucker Caraway went 4-5 to lead Midwestern State with four runs scored. Kelsey Eropkin and Amanda Thomas added three hit games. Lauren Lindgren and Taylor Brintzenhoff drove in four runs each.

In the circle, sophomore Lyana Waddell went the first four innings and ended up with the loss (3-14) as she allowed six earned runs with three strikeouts. Habitzreuther went the final three innings and allowed just two earned runs with a strikeout. The MSU pitching staff had trouble finding the zone as they walked nine batters and hit five more. Abbie Lancaster started and went the first two innings and allowed four earned runs. Caraway came on in relief to get the win (2-2) as she allowed six earned runs in five innings and posted seven strikeouts.

In the series finale, the teams combined for 26 hits with MSU holding the 15-11 edge. For the first time in the series, WNMU scored first as Garcia drove in a run in the opening inning on a fielder’s choice to shortstop. Maldonado, Paredes-Alvarez and Habitzreuther all reached earlier in the inning.

The lead moved out to 3-0 in the second when Maldonado came through with a clutch two-out single to center that scored both Gonzales and senior Victoria Arganda.

MSU got on the board with a run in the third and then it became a pitcher’s duel for the next few innings until MSU plated an unearned run in the fifth to get to within a run at 3-2. MSU took their first lead of the game in the sixth when they scored four runs on four hits to open up a 6-3 advantage.

 The WNMU offense was ready to respond in the home half as they fought back to tie. Garcia opened the frame and then quickly scored when Castillo lifted a 1-0 pitch deep to left for a two-run homer. After Gastelum doubled and later moved to third, Maldonado drove her in with a single to shortstop to tie the game at six after six.

The seventh was just as wild as the sixth. MSU scored two in their at-bat to go ahead 8-6 and then had to sweat out the victory. With one out, Castillo walked and then Gastelum doubled to put runners on second and third. Redshirt sophomore Clarissa Moreno then popped one up behind the bag at second that was misplayed by the second baseman and allowed her to reach. On the play, the shortstop came in and then threw the ball away trying to get redshirt junior pinch-runner Brooklyn Misenhimer at home to bring in the seventh run of the game. With the tying run at third and the potential winning run at second, a pop out and then a called strike three on a full-count ended the game and left the crowd stunned.

Maldonado and Gastelum tallied three hits each, while Maldonado drove in three more runs. Castillo added two RBI. Maldonado ended up with 12 RBI during the four-game set. Lindgren posted three hits for MSU, while five others had two hits. Caycee Griffin drove in three.

In the circle, Waddell went all seven innings and took the loss (3-15) as she allowed seven earned runs and added two more strikeouts. Gracie Bogle started for MSU and went the first four innings and allowed three earned runs. Kelsey Knox came on in relief to make her pitching debut of the season as she grabbed the win (1-0) in allowing three earned runs in three innings of work.

WNMU will hit the road this coming week as they will play at UT Permian Basin in Odessa, Texas starting with a doubleheader on Friday at 2 p.m. Mountain Time.

Both Western New Mexico University tennis teams stayed right with UT Permian Basin, but the Falcons claimed a pair of 6-3 victories in the Lone Star Conference opener on Saturday.

On the women’s side, WNMU (2-12, 0-1 LSC) grabbed a doubles win over UT Permian Basin (6-9) at the top flight behind Jeanne Kolb/Klara Smolikova, 8-4. Nadia Justiniano/Karina Diaz won three games at No. 2, 3-8 and Christine Roerick/Kaycie Cormier grabbed two games at No. 3, 2-8.

The offense was ready on Thursday as the Western New Mexico University softball team used the bats to record 20 runs to post a Lone Star Conference doubleheader sweep of Midwestern State. WNMU took game one 8-7 and then grabbed the nightcap 12-9.

It’s the first doubleheader sweep since the Lady Mustangs (4-29, 2-15 LSC) joined the LSC last year and the first conference doubleheader sweep of any kind since the 2016 season when WNMU swept four from in-state rival New Mexico Highlands on Mar. 12-13 while still in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Senior Ross White parlayed his strong performance at the St. Edward's Invitational into earning Lone Star Conference Golfer of the Week accolades Wednesday.

White utilized a first round 68 to help lead him to a tie for third as he also added rounds of 73 and 73 for a 214 at the St. Edward's Invitational. WNMU as a team compiled consistent rounds of 287-293-292 for an 872 to finish in third out of 12 teams at the par 70, 6,530 yard Onion Creek Club, just eight-strokes back of the top spot.

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