The Howard Payne Lady Jackets snapped a 10-game drought over the weekend and earned their first American Southwest Conference softball series victory of the season, taking two of three games at home from LeTourneau.
Howard Payne won the opener, 3-2, and dropped the second game, 12-0, during a Friday twin bill, then rallied for a 15-6 triumph in Saturday’s finale.
In Saturday’s victory, the Lady Jackets (5-15-2, 2-10) established a new season-high in runs, breaking a 6-all tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with a nine-spot.
HPU’s sixth inning featured a lead walk by Morgean Schultz, a one-out walk by Shawneece Jones and a two-RBI double by Kayla Boucher that put the Lady Jackets in front for good, 8-6. Audrey Simpson then doubled home Boucher with the ninth run. Bri Davis walked ahead of Gabrielle Roque, who plated Simpson with the 10th run on an RBI single.
Jazmine Bridges then singled up the middle to score Davis, while Ferrah Ford reached on an error that allowed Roque to come home. Schultz then reached on an RBI fielder’s choice and Tonya Thompson walked, while Jones followed with a two-RBI double that scored Schultz and Thompson and enforced the eight-run mercy rule.
The Lady Jackets grabbed a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first as Schultz drew a walk and scored on Jones’ RBI double. Boucher then belted a two-run home run to left field.
LeTourneau (7-12, 5-10) closed the gap to 3-2 in the third and took a 5-3 edge in the top of the fifth, but Howard Payne regained a 6-5 advantage in the bottom half of the fifth.
Jones walked with one out to start the rally, then Boucher singled ahead of an RBI base hit by Simpson that brought home Jones. Davis was hit by a pitch to load the bases, then Roque’s RBI ground out plated Alizabeth Moreno, running for Boucher, with the tying run. Haley Slater followed with an RBI single to center field that scored Simpson, as HPU briefly held a 6-5 lead before LeTourneau drew even in the top of the sixth.
Howard Payne collected a dozen hits — three each by Jones and Boucher, two apiece from Simpson and Roque and one each by Slater and Bridges.
Simpson worked four innings in the circle, allowing three runs on two hits with four walks and three strikeouts. Tia Campos pitched two innings, giving up three runs on four hits with one walk in two frames.
In Friday’s series opener, HPU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Schulz led off with a double to left field, moved to third base on Thompson’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Katelyn Dickerson’s RBI sacrifice fly to center field.
LeTourneau grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth as Jacie Gilbert led off with a single and Macey Mize followed with an RBI double to even the score. Shelby Barrick followed with an RBI single to left to plate Mize with the go-ahead run, but LeTourneau did no further damage.
Then, in HPU’s half of the sixth, Simpson led off with a double and Schultz was hit by pitch before Thompson sacrificed both runners over. With two outs, Boucher delivered the game-winning two-RBI single left-center field.
HPU tallied just five hits — two by Jones and one apiece by Schultz, Boucher and Simpson.
Kendra Evans notched the win in the circle, allowing two earned runs on five hits with two walks in five innings. Campos picked up the save, tossing two innings of scoreless ball, with two hits allowed.
In Friday’s second game, the Lady Jackets were hammered, 12-0.
Campos took the loss as she pitched all five innings, surrendering a dozen runs — nine earned — on 15 hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
LeTourneau’s Faith Genoway limited HPU to three hits — singles by Boucher, Simpson and Bri Davis.
The Lady Jackets will seek their second ASC series victory of the next season when they visit Hardin-Simmons (0-20, 0-12) for a 1 p.m. Friday doubleheader, followed by a single game at noon Saturday.