The Howard Payne Lady Jackets were on the short end of three American Southwest Conference softball contests against the Concordia Lady Tornados, who swept the weekend series.
Howard Payne fell 3-1 in eight innings in the series opener, followed by a 10-2 loss on the back half of a Friday doubleheader. In Saturday’s series finale, Concordia left town with a 12-3 triumph.
In Friday’s series opener, the Lady Jackets forced extra innings by scoring their only run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Haley Slater led off with a walk, then Gabrielle Roque sacrificed courtesy-runner Alizabeth Moreno to second. Bri Davis followed with an RBI double to the gap in left-center field to score Moreno, just one of two hits for the Lady Jackets off Concordia’s Jordan Russell. Audrey Simpson added a leadoff single in the third.
Concordia (20-13, 16-8) immediately answered with two runs in the top off the eighth off HPU pitcher Tia Campos. Haley Dennett reached on an error, stole second base then moved to third on a passed ball. With one out, Summer Harper was hit by a pitch, then Russell doubled both runners home.
Concordia grabbed a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Harper homered off Kendra Evans.
Evans worked six innings and yielded one run on seven hits with one strikeout and one walk. Campos pitched two innings and gave up a pair of runs on three hits with one strikeout.
In the 10-2 nightcap loss for HPU, Concordia jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning, added three more in the third and two in the fifth.
The Lady Jackets scored twice in the bottom of the fifth as Davis and Morgean Schultz both walked ahead of an RBI double down the left field line by Roque. Then, with one out, Simpson singled up the middle to plate Schultz.
HPU’s four-hit effort included a pair by Roque and one each from Simpson and Slater.
In the circle, Tonya Thompson went the distance and gave up 10 runs — one earned — on 11 hits with five strikeouts and two walks. The Lady Jacket defense committed four errors.
Saturday’s series finale saw the Lady Jackets surrender at least one run in every inning. Concordia led 2-1 after one, 3-1 after two, 8-1 through three and 10-3 heading to the fifth, where the Lady Tornados enforced the eight-run mercy rule.
Evans and Campos yielded a combined 20 hits in the circle, along with 11 earned runs with one strikeout and a pair of walks.
At the plate, HPU produced six hits — two each by Slater and Roque and one apiece from Thompson and Davis, who drove in two runs.
The Lady Jackets scored twice in the fourth as Schultz reached on an error, then Davis followed with a two-run home run.
In the first inning, HPU cut Concordia’s lead to 2-1 when Shawneece Jones led off with a walk and came home on Slater’s RBI double to right field.
Howard Payne (8-24-1, 5-19) will visit Mary Hardin-Baylor (23-10, 18-6) for three American Southwest Conference games next weekend — a 2 p.m. Friday doubleheader with the series finale at noon Saturday.