The Howard Payne Lady Jackets chalked up their first two victories of the season, defeating the Huston-Tillotson Lady Rams twice by counts of 7-4 in Tuesday’s initial home games of the season.
The Lady Jackets (2-2) will venture east this weekend as they begin American Southwest Conference softball action against LeTourneau in a three-game set Friday and Saturday.
In Tuesday’s first game, the Lady Jackets scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning to grab a 5-2 advantage, then tacked on two more insurance runs in the fifth after Huston-Tillotson had trimmed the deficit to a single run.
The Lady Jackets generated 11 hits, led by three from Gaby Muniz, two from Erin McLeod and one apiece by Tayler Rushing, Amanda Cruddas, Shelbi Winstead, Adrienne Sanchez, Kennedy Coffin and Allison Eaton.
Winstead finished with a team-best two RBIs trailed by one apiece from Muniz, Rushing, McLeod, Coffin and Eaton.
In the circle, Celese Tirres went the distance to earn her first victory, surrendering two earned runs on six hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
Down 2-0 after half an inning, HPU cut the HTU lead in half as Rushing singled home Muniz, who led off with a triple, in the bottom of the first.
The Lady Jackets’ four-run second saw Coffin drive in Kodi Glosson, who reached on a leadoff walk, with a sacrifice fly to knot the score at 2. An RBI single to left field by Eaton then plated Sanchez, who reached on an error, to give Howard Payne a 3-2 edge. Muniz followed with her second triple in as many at-bats to drive home Eaton with the fourth run. Then McLeod doubled home Muniz with two outs, staking Howard Payne to a 5-2 edge.
After HTU closed the gap to 5-4 in the fourth, the Lady Jackets struck for two more runs in the fifth. A one-out double by McLeod, followed by a single to left from Cruddas, set the stage for Winstead’s two-RBI double to left-center field, which capped the scoring.
In the second game, Howard Payne chalked up five runs over the first three innings, and added two more in the sixth to complete the sweep.
The Lady Jackets again finished with double digits in hits, tallying 10 as a team. McLeod, Coffin and Eason recorded two apiece while Muniz, Rushing, Winstead and Sanchez contributed one hit each.
McLeod and Eaton were also credited with a pair of RBIs, while Winstead, Sanchez and Glosson chipped in one each.
Rushing went five innings in the circle, surrendering three earned runs on seven hits with three walks to notch the victory. Tirres worked the final two innings and yielded just one hit to collect the save.
Howard Payne pulled even at 1 in the bottom of the first inning on a bases-loaded RBI walk by Winstead, which scored Muniz after a leadoff single.
The Lady Jackets surged ahead in the second as McLeod’s two-out, two-RBI single to left-center field scored Coffin and Eaton, who reached on consecutive hits to start the frame.
The lead grew to 5-1 in the third inning as Eaton’s two-out, two-RBI double to left-center field scored Coffin and Winstead, who both walked.
As was the case in the first game, HTU crept within a run, 5-4, in the fifth inning. And again, the Lady Jackets answered with two insurance runs as an RBI bases-loaded walk by Glosson plated Rushing, who led off the sixth with a double, while Sanchez’s RBI single scored McLeod, who walked.