Lady Jackets softball swept by UT-Dallas, 2-1 and 3-1, as slump continues

DERRICK STUCKLY BROWNWOOD BULLETIN derrick.stuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com
Lady Jacket catcher Pricilla Patino fires to first base in an attempt to retire UT-Dallas’ Sara Navarro during Howard Payne’s 3-1 loss Friday in the final of a three-game American Southwest Conference softball series.

The Howard Payne Lady Jackets surrendered only five runs over the final two games of their American Southwest Conference series against the UT-Dallas Lady Comets Friday, but their offensive woes continued.

The Lady Jackets dropped decisions of 2-1 and 3-1 to the Lady Comets as Howard Payne’s slump reached 15 games. During that span, HPU — which entered the series batting .159 as a team — has manufactured one run or less a dozen times.

In the first game Friday, Howard Payne (2-17, 1-14) received a two-hitter from Adrienne Sanchez, who struck out three, walked three and surrendered one earned run. Avery McHugh and Jonelle Feikis notched the UT-Dallas (8-8, 7-8) hits, while Taylor Nabors was credited with the lone RBI. The Howard Payne defense committed three errors to aid the Lady Comet cause.

Meanwhile, the Lady Jackets generated six hits off the Lady Comets’ pitching combination of Megan Aragones and Sara Davison. Jessica Morales recorded two hits trailed by one each from Amanda Gober, Tayler Rushing, Kodi Glosson and Sanchez, while Shandi Winstead collected HPU’s RBI.

The Lady Comets snapped a 1-all tie in the top of the fifth as Kendall Moore led off with a walk, then Morgan Anderson reached on an error, while a throwing error on the same play allowed Moore to come home with the decisive run.

Howard Payne drew even at 1 in the bottom of the third as Morales led off with an infield single, then Gober singled into left field. Pricilla Patino moved both runners over on a sacrifice, then Rushing was retired for the second out. Winstead reached on a two-out throwing error by Feikis, the UT-Dallas shortstop, which permitted Morales to score the Lady Jackets’ lone run.

In the top of the first inning, the Lady Comets struck for their first run as McHugh led off with a double and scored on an RBI ground out by Nabors.

During the second game Friday, Rushing and Sanchez combined to yield nine hits with one strikeout and one walk as UT-Dallas did all of its offensive damage in the top of the second inning.

HPU mustered just three hits — two by Gober and one by Erin McLeod — off Lady Comet hurler Lauren McLeod, who struck out five and walked one.

The Lady Jackets grabbed a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning as Morales was hit by a pitch ahead of an infield single by Gober. With runners on second and third and no outs, Patino lined out to center field and Gober was doubled up retreating to second base, but Morales was able to make it home to avoid a triple play and put Howard Payne on the board.

In the top of the second, UT-Dallas responded with a lead off single by Feikis, who was doubled home by Jordan Bratcher with one out. With two outs, Anderson singled home Bratcher, then McHugh doubled in Anderson to round out the scoring.

Howard Payne had a chance to draw even in the bottom of the third as the Lady Jackets loaded the bases with one out.

Erin McLeod led off with a double, then Morales was plunked again followed by an infield single from Gober with one out. Patino then grounded to third base, where the throw home beat McLeod, and the catcher’s throw to first retired Patino to complete the double play.

The Lady Jackets managed just one base runner, Morales on a walk to start the sixth, the rest of the day.

Howard Payne will resume American Southwest Conference Friday and Saturday with a three-game series at Concordia.