MARSHALL — The Howard Payne Lady Jackets were dealt their sixth consecutive loss to close the 2015 softball campaign, falling at No. 3 East Texas Baptist by a 9-1 count Tuesday afternoon.
Prior to the start of HPU’s season-ending slump, the Lady Jackets were just one game back of sixth place and in contention for an ASC tournament berth. However, the Lady Jackets were swept at home by Hardin-Simmons over the weekend and at ETBU Monday and Tuesday to finish the season at 10-27, with a 6-23 conference record.
The Lady Jackets, who were limited to one hit in 12 innings of action Monday, pushed across their first run of the series in the top of the third. With one out, Gaby Muniz — who recorded HPU’s lone hit Monday — singled to left field. Erin McLeod followed with a base hit to left, moving Muniz into scoring position. With two outs, Shandi Winstead slapped an RBI single to left field to plate Muniz.
By this point, however, East Texas Baptist (28-2, 24-2) — which increased its win streak to 14 games — had already established an 8-1 advantage, chalking up six runs in the bottom of the first inning and two more in the second.
The Lady Tigers’ six-run first included a two-run home run by Jayme Perez just three batters in, followed immediately by a solo shot from Lacey Lindsey. Mallory Westbrook added an RBI single, while Maranda Westbrook delivered a two-RBI single.
In the ETBU second, back-to-back RBI doubles by Kaitlyn Hollingshead and Kayla Garcia resulted in a pair of runs.
The final run for the Lady Tigers crossed the plate in the bottom of fifth as Jessica Bowden’s RBI bunt single plated Katy Hill to enforce the eight-run mercy rule.
Tayler Rushing pitched two innings for HPU, surrendering eight runs on 10 hits with two walks. Celese Tirres worked the final 2.1 innings and gave up one run on six hits.
For ETBU, Shelby Parker pitched three innings and gave up one run on four hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Shelby Phillips worked two innings of relief and yielded one hit with one strikeout.
HPU finished with four hits as Cherita George also collected a one-out single in the top of the second.
Tuesday’s game capped the college careers of HPU’s Winstead, McLeod and Amanda Cruddas.