ABILENE — The Howard Payne Lady Jackets captured their second consecutive American Southwest Conference softball series, taking two of three games from the Hardin-Simmons Cowgirls Friday and Saturday.
The Lady Jackets opened and closed the series with victories of 4-0 Friday and Saturday. In the second half of Friday's doubleheader, Hardin-Simmons snapped a season-long 24-game losing streak and earned its first victory of the 2018 campaign, 14-9.
In Friday's opening 4-0 victory, Howard Payne's Kendra Evans tossed six shutout innings, yielding two hits and five walks with two strikeouts. Tia Campos worked the final inning and surrendered one hit.
At the plate, Haley Slater homer in the second inning to provide all the offense Howard Payne (7-16-2, 4-11) needed. During a three-run HPU fifth, Kayla Boucher's RBI single scored Kaitlyn Dickerson, then bases-loaded walks by Gabrielle Roque and Bri Davis brought home Boucher and Shawneece Jones.
The Lady Jackets finished with eight hits — three by Slater, two by Dickerson one each by Tonya Thompson, Evans and Boucher.
In Saturday's 4-0 triumph, Evans and Campos again combined for a shutout, scattering five hits and one walk with four strikeouts.
Howard Payne tallied single runs in the third and seventh innings, with two more scoring in the sixth.
In the third, Jones's RBI infield single brought home Audrey Simpson with the decisive run. The sixth-inning runs were the result of a bases-loaded walk by Roque that scored Alizabeth Moreno, and Simpson's RBI single to left that plated Morgean Schultz. Boucher added an RBI ground out in the seventh that scored Dickerson.
Howard Payne finished with eight hits — three by Simpson, two by Schultz and one each from Jones, Slater and Dickerson.
In the 14-9 loss to Hardin-Simmons (1-25, 1-17), the Lady Jackets trailed 4-0 after one inning, 8-0 after two and 10-2 through three frames.
HPU pitchers Simpson, Campos and Evans combined to give up 18 hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
The Lady Jackets finished with 12 hits including four by Jones and two by Boucher. Schultz, who homered, Slater and Dickerson each finished with one hit and two RBIs, while Thompson chipped in one hit and an RBI. Simpson and Campos also added hits to the HPU tally.
Howard Payne will be back in action Thursday and Friday as its host No. 3 UT-Tyler (16-11, 11-1) in a three-game ASC set. Game 1 will take place at 2 p.m. Thursday with Games 2 and 3 to follow beginning at 11 a.m. Friday.