The bats came to life for the Howard Payne Lady Jackets in the second game of a doubleheader against Huston-Tillotson Tuesday — and they were desperately needed.
After dropping Game 1 of a doubleheader, 2-1, the Lady Jackets bounced back with a 13-12, eight-inning victory to salvage a series split with the Lady Rams.
The Lady Jackets (3-2) trailed by four runs before they stepped to the plate in the nightcap, but took a 5-4 lead after two full innings.
Huston-Tillotson surged back in front, 6-5, after three innings, but the Lady Jackets opened an 8-6 advantage in the bottom of the fourth.
Again, the Lady Rams had an answer as a three-spot in the top of the fifth put HPU in a 9-8 hole, but the Lady Jackets drew even in the bottom of the frame.
In the top of the seventh, Huston-Tillotson snatched a 10-9 advantage, but the Lady Jackets forced extra innings in the bottom half as Celina Ortiz singled home Rachel Hitt.
The Lady Rams were right back on the offensive in the top of the eighth, seizing a 12-10 advantage. But the Lady Jackets stole the victory in the bottom half of the inning.
With Tayler Rushing on second base to start the inning, as per international tiebreaker rules, Gaby Muniz singled to move Rushing to third. Muniz then stole second base and a wild throw allowed Rushing to cross the plate with the 11th run.
With one out, Brittany Ponder doubled to right-center field, which brought home the tying run in Muniz.
Then, with two outs, an RBI single to right field by Hitt drove home Ponder and sealed the Lady Jacket victory.
Howard Payne overcame four errors thanks to 17 hits — four by Ortiz, three by Allison Eaton, two each by Hitt, Muniz, Ponder and Sabrina Ochoa and one apiece from Rushing and Yasmine Ayala.
In the circle, Celese Tirres picked up the win to improve to 2-2. She allowed four runs on eight hits with one strikeout and one walk in 3.2 innings.
Rushing also worked 4.1 innings and yielded eight runs on eight hits with one strikeout.
In the 2-1 opening loss, the Lady Jackets mustered just four hits — one each by Ortiz, Ayala, Eaton and Adrienne Sanchez.
Huston-Tillotson scored twice in the top of the fifth on a two-RBI single by Emmilli Aguerro.
HPU’s lone run was an RBI by Kodi Glosson as she was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, allowing Ayala to score.
Tirres went the distance in the circle, surrendering two runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts.
HPU visits Ozarks for a three-game ASC series starting Friday.