CLARKSVILLE, Arkansas — The slump for the Howard Payne Lady Jackets softball team reached 10 games, with the last nine losses coming against American Southwest Conference opponents, as the Ozarks Lady Eagles recorded a three-game sweep over the weekend.
The Lady Jackets were run-ruled in all three losses — 10-0 in six innings and 14-5 in five innings Friday, along with a 9-1 defeat in six innings Saturday — by an Ozarks team that had not to won a game coming into the weekend.
The last victory for Howard Payne (3-14-2, 0-9) occurred on Feb. 13 in the first half of a doubleheader with Huston-Tillotson.
In Saturday’s finale, Ozarks (3-10, 3-6) scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning and two more in the second and never looked back. Howard Payne tallied its lone run in the top of the fourth, while the Lady Eagles scored again in the bottom of the sixth to enforce the eight-run mercy rule.
The Lady Jackets mustered just four hits — singles by Morgean Schultz, Gabrielle Roque, Katelyn Dickerson and Audrey Simpson.
HPU’s run in the fourth inning was the result of a Haley Slater leadoff walk, followed by a two-out RBI single to left field by Simpson.
Pitchers Kendra Evans and Tia Campos combined to surrender nine runs — four earned — on 16 hits with three strikeouts and no walks. The HPU defense committed one error.
In the second game of the series, a 14-5 loss, Howard Payne trailed 5-1 after one inning, 7-1 after two and 14-4 through three frames.
Simpson, Evans, Roque and Campos combined to yield 14 earned runs on 14 hits — including three home runs — with two walks and two hit batters.
Howard Payne finished with nine hits, including home runs by Slater and Simpson. Dickerson, Simpson and Kayla Boucher tallied two hits apiece while Tonya Thompson, Slater and Campos contributed one each.
The Lady Jackets struck first in the top of the first as Dickerson and Boucher reached on consecutive two-out singles and scored when Shawneece Jones reached on an error.
Down 7-1 after two innings, Howard Payne cut the deficit to 7-4 in the top of the third on Slater’s three-run homer, which also scored Thompson, who doubled, and Dickerson who singled.
Simpson added a solo shot in the top of the fifth for the final HPU run.
Howard Payne was blanked in the series opener despite tallying seven hits, while Ozarks chalked up four runs in the bottom of the third and six more in the sixth.
Thompson and Jones recorded two hits apiece for the Lady Jackets while Dickerson, Slater and Simpson each added one.
In the circle, Simpson, Evans and Campos surrendered 10 runs — just two earned — on nine hits with four strikeouts, three walks, three hit batters and a wild pitch. The Lady Jackets defense committed five errors behind them.
Howard Payne will attempt to halt its slide as LeTourneau (3-8, 2-7) visits for three games Friday and Saturday. Friday’s doubleheader starts at 1 p.m. at Lady Jacket Park, with the Saturday finale slated for noon.