HPU reaches double figures in victories for first time since 2016

The Howard Payne Lady Jackets surpassed their 2018 win total Wednesday afternoon, reaching double figures in victories after taking the second game of a home non-conference doubleheader against Sul Ross, 7-1.

Howard Payne — which dropped the opener to Sul Ross, 10-0, in six innings — stands at 10-13 with 17 games remaining in the regular season after posting a 9-29-2 overall mark a year ago. The Lady Jackets last reached double digits in the win column in 2016.

In Wednesday's victory, Howard Payne snapped a 1-all tie with Sul Ross (9-14 overall) thanks to a six-run bottom of the fifth inning.

Ragen Noriega started the surge with a one-out bunt single, then Madison Love followed with a single through the left side. Aurora Luera came through with a two-RBI triple to right field, pushing Howard Payne in front, 3-1. Luera later scored on an error, while Tonya Thompson and Alexis Sullivan walked ahead of back-to-back RBI singles by Emily Martinez and Kayla Hill. Kayla Anderson then singled home Martinez to cap the inning.

Down 1-0 after three innings, Howard Payne drew even in the bottom of the fourth. Thompson led off the inning with a single and later came home on a wild pitch.

In the circle, Tia Campos went the distance and allowed one earned run on six hits with two strikeouts to notch the victory.

Howard Payne finished with seven hits at the plate — one each from Luera, Thompson Sullivan, Hill, Anderson, Noriega and Love.

In the 10-0 opening loss, Howard Payne gave up five runs in third, four in second, and three in sixth as Sul Ross enforced the mercy rule.

Sul Ross pitcher Jodie Vaughn allowed just three hits — to Luera, Sullivan and Anderson — with five walks and eight strikeouts.

At the plate, Sul Ross was led by Gabriela Raimondi with one hit and three RBI, along with Hailey Guillen and Anaya Losoya who both contributed one hit and two RBI.

For HPU, Campos, Gabrielle Roque, Hannah Stuart and ASC Pitcher of the Week Audrey Simpson combined to yield 10 runs — only two earned — on 10 hits with six walks and no strikeouts. The HPU defense committed three errors.

The Lady Jackets (6-9 in league play) resume American Southwest Conference softball action with three games at LeTourneau (15-9, 12-6) this weekend — a 3 p.m. doubleheader Friday and a single game at 11 a.m. Saturday.