RICHARDSON — In the rubber match of their American Southwest Conference softball series against the UT-Dallas Lady Comets, Howard Payne was dealt a 3-0 loss Saturday as the Lady Jackets dropped their third consecutive series.
Despite the loss, the Lady Jackets remained in eighth place in the ASC standings, with the top six teams qualifying for the conference tournament.
Howard Payne (12-17, 9-15) split a doubleheader with UT-Dallas (15-16, 11-10) Friday, rallying from a 13-1 loss in Game 1 for a 2-1 extra-inning victory in Game 2.
In Saturday’s outing, the Lady Jackets out-hit the Lady Comets, 6-5, but HPU left seven base runners stranded. Allie Stephens tossed a complete-game shutout with one walk and no strikeouts.
The Howard Payne offense received a pair of hits from Tayler Rushing and singles from Gaby Muniz, Celina Ortiz, Sabrina Ochoa and Adrienne Sanchez. Haley Slater drew a walk.
Lady Jacket hurler Celese Tirres also went the distance and yielded three earned runs on five hits with one walk, and the HPU defense committed a pair of errors.
Offensive standouts for the Lady Comets included Sara Navarro with two hits, two runs and an RBI, while Kendall Moore doubled and drove in two. Stefanie Polderman and Chelsea Sartor chipped in one hit apiece as well.
The Lady Comets tallied their first run in the bottom of the second as Navarro reached on a one-out single and scored on a two-out RBI double to left field by Moore.
UT-Dallas tacked on insurance in the sixth as Brittany Perkins walked with one out, then pinch-runner Taylor Ervin stole second ahead of an RBI single up the middle by Navarro. After Polderman singled to right-center, Moore followed with an RBI ground out that plated Navarro.
The Lady Jackets are back on the road for the third consecutive weekend as they visit Belhaven for three games Friday and Saturday. Howard Payne then hosts Concordia April 15-16 in its final three home games before closing the regular season at LeTourneau April 22-23.