WT sweeps series from ENMU

Mar. 16—CANYON, Texas — After a flying start to the season, Eastern New Mexico University's softball team has suddenly hit the meatier part of its schedule.

The Greyhounds have played consecutive Lone Star Conference series against Lubbock Christian, Cameron, Angelo State and West Texas A&M. After posting their first win all-time against LCU in the series opener, they've lost 10 of the last 11.

Wednesday, ENMU (15-14, 8-13 LSC) dropped a twin bill to second-ranked WT 9-0 and 9-1, both ending on the eight-run rule, to wrap up their three-game set.

Evidently, the Lady Buffs (25-2, 17-1) were angry after suffering a 7-6 setback at Oklahoma Christian in Sunday's series finale at Oklahoma City, snapping an 18-game winning streak. They scored 25 runs on 29 hits against ENMU, belting nine home runs in the process, while three pitchers working on Wednesday combined to issue no walks.

WT scored in nine of 10 turns at-bat in the twin bill. Senior third baseman Diana Murtha led the assault with four homers in the series, including three on Wednesday, to give her 11 for the season.

She hit a solo home run in the third inning and a grand slam in the fourth in Wednesday's lidlifter. Senior center fielder Brittni Rufus went 3-for-3 and scored twice.

About the only offense for the Hounds all day came from junior catcher Samantha Gutierrez, who had a pair of knocks in each game and finished the doubleheader 4-for-5 with a double.

Sophomore right-hander Emilee Boyer (11-1) went four innings in the opener, allowing three singles and striking out four. Sophomore Marissa Rodriguez (5-6) took the loss for ENMU, surrendering seven hits, four walks and nine runs (six earned) in three-plus innings.

In Game 2, sophomore left fielder Lauren Granger and Murtha hit back-to-back homers — including an inside-the-parker for Granger — to start a three-run first against ENMU junior right-hander Emma Southerland (6-6). Nine of WT's 12 hits in the contest went for extra bases, including four homers.

The Lady Buffs went scoreless in the second, then tacked on single runs in the third, fourth and fifth before ending it in the sixth when Rufus hit a two-run homer and Boyer followed with a solo shot.

ENMU got its only score of the day in the fifth when pinch-hitter Aylene Lucero singled and stole second, then came around on a two-out infield hit by pinch-hitter Cecy Jurado and a throwing error on the play by Lady Buffs first baseman Megan Guericke.

The Hounds figure to have a good chance to get back on track this weekend when they host last-place Texas-Permian Basin (4-23, 1-17) for three contests at Greyhound Softball Field, starting with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday.

WT 7, ENMU 3 (Tuesday) — The Hounds actually had the better of it early on in this one. They got a solo home run from Gutierrez — her sixth — to start the scoring in the second, then senior second baseman Chanler Groves tripled home Southerland before scoring on a single by senior third baseman Alondra Vaquez in the third for a 3-0 advantage.

In the fourth, freshman right fielder Emily Liskai got WT on the board with a two-out RBI single, and sophomore left fielder Lauren Granger followed with a three-run shot off Southerland for a 4-3 lead.

Murtha and senior shortstop Madison Johnson then went back-to-back in the fifth — Murtha with a runner on — to complete the scoring.

WT outhit ENMU 10-9, with senior right fielder Mikenzey Patterson going 3-for-4 and Vasquez 2-for-4 for the Hounds. Mandell worked 4 2/3 innings of shutout relief to get the win.