BELTON — The Howard Payne Lady Jackets were swept in a Thursday doubleheader by the Mary Hardin-Baylor Lady Crusaders to open a three-game American Southwest Conference softball series.
The Lady Jackets fell 5-2 and 13-4, with Game 3 slated for 2 p.m Friday. The series was moved up a day due to the threat of thunderstorms Saturday.
In Friday’s three-run opening loss, Howard Payne (8-26, 5-21) surrendered four runs in third inning and one more in the fifth before scratching across its two runs in the top of the seventh.
HPU’s seven-hit attack featured two each from Gabrielle Roque and Ferrah Ford, along with one apiece from Morgean Schultz, Kayla Boucher and Bri Davis.
Hanna Halepaska went the distance in the circle for UMHB (25-10, 20-6) to notch the victory.
Lady Jacket pitchers Tia Campos and Roque worked three innings apiece, yielding a combined five runs — three earned — on six hits with one strikeout and one walk.
Devon Walter finished with two hits, including a double, and two RBIs to pace the UMHB offense.
Howard Payne’s two-run seventh inning featured a solo home run by Davis, then Ford doubled homed Roque, who reached on a single.
In the nightcap, the Lady Jackets jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning, only to witness UMHB answer with five runs in the bottom of the frame. The Lady Crusaders tacked on three runs in the third and two in the fourth before HPU tallied its final run in the top of the fifth. UMHB picked up three more runs in its final two trips to the plate.
Lady Jacket pitchers Tonya Thompson, Roque and Campos combined to give up 13 earned runs on 14 hits with five walks and no strikeouts.
Avery Kelley homered and drove in five to pace the UMHB offense.
Howard Payne finished with just three hits off the UMHB tandem of Karen Tennis and CeCe Darilek — a Boucher home run, a Shawneece Jones triple and a Ford single.
Schultz’s RBI fielder’s choice scored Jones with the first run of the game, then Boucher followed with a long ball. In the fifth inning, Ford scored on an error following a ground out by Campos.
Howard Payne will attempt to snap a seven-game losing streak in the series finale.