The Howard Payne Lady Jackets rallied for a pair of one-run home victories over Ozarks, 3-2 and 2-1, Thursday afternoon, snapping a six-game losing streak and securing an American Southwest Conference series victory with one game remaining Friday.
In the opener, Howard Payne (8-12, 5-9) scored twice in the bottom of the fifth inning after Ozarks (6-15, 5-12) scored the first two runs of the game. The Lady Jackets tallied their first run in the bottom of the third.
Howard Payne collected nine hits — three by shortstop Aurora Luera, two each by first baseman Emily Martinez and designated hitter Haley Slater and one apiece by catcher Kayla Hill and third baseman Kayla Anderson.
In the circle, Tia Campos, Gabrielle Roque and Audrey Simpson combined to yield two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and four walks.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the third, Anderson singled through the left side with one out in the inning, then Martinez ripped an RBI double to right-center field to close the gap to 2-1.
The Lady Jackets wrestled away the lead in the bottom of the fifth as Martinez led off with a double and moved to third when Slater reached on one of two Ozarks errors. Martinez scored the tying run on an error later in the inning, while Slater came home on the back end of a double steal with Luera, who singled, for the go-ahead run.
In the nightcap, the Lady Jackets surrendered an unearned run in the top of the first inning, then struck for single runs in the fourth to tie, and in the fifth to seize the advantage.
Howard Payne again chalked up nine hits — two each by Luera, Slater and second baseman Ragen Noriega, and one apiece by Anderson, center fielder Tonya Thompson, and left fielder Madison Love.
Campos, Roque and Simpson again teamed up in the circle, allowing one earned run on two hits with two walks.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Noriega reached on a leadoff bunt single and scored on a two-out RBI double through the left side by Thompson.
Howard Payne surged in front in the fifth inning as Slater singled with two outs and Hill followed with a walk. Noriega then delivered an RBI single to left-center field that plated Simpson, running for Slater, with the decisive run.
The series finale will take place at 1 p.m. Friday at Lady Jacket Park.