HPU thumped in series finale against No. 18 Louisiana College, 13-0

Derrick Stuckly Brownwood Bulletin derrick.stuckly@brownwoodbulletin.com
Lady Jacket Amanda Cruddas (right), who reached on a seventh-inning fielder’s choice, dives back into first base safely ahead of the tag from Louisiana College’s Abby Maillet during Howard Payne’s 13-0 loss Friday afternoon.

The No. 18 Louisiana College Lady Cats notched their 20th victory of the season, while Howard Payne experienced its 20th defeat as the Lady Jackets dropped the finale of a three-game American Southwest Conference softball series, 13-0, Friday afternoon.

The loss matched the most lopsided of the season for Howard Payne (8-20, 4-16), which also fell to No. 3 UT-Tyler, 13-0, in Brownwood on March 6. The Lady Jackets, who were dealt losses of 7-0 and 7-3 by second-place Louisiana College (20-5, 15-2) on Thursday, have lost five straight overall and are in 10th place in the ASC standings.

The top eight seeds in the ASC advance to the double elimination conference championship tournament April 30-May 3 at the site of the No. 1 seed. The Lady Jackets trail No. 8 seed Ozarks (10-15, 6-13) by two games with six remaining.

Howard Payne will return to action at 1 p.m. Friday with a doubleheader at Sul Ross, while the three-game series will conclude with a single game at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 11. The Lady Jackets will then conclude the regular season April 17-18 at home against Hardin-Simmons.

In Friday’s loss to Louisiana College, the Lady Jackets were limited to three hits by Lady Cat hurler Sevannah Settle, who went the distance and struck out seven with one walk.

Gaby Muniz drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the first for Howard Payne, then Erin McLeod was the next Lady Jacket to reach base with a one-out single in the fourth. Shandi Winstead was hit by a pitch to put a pair of runners on in the fourth, but a double play quickly ended the frame.

Muniz added a single with two outs in the sixth, while Cherita George singled with one out in the seventh.

HPU pitcher Taylor Rushing tossed all seven innings and gave up 13 runs — 12 of which were unearned — as the Lady Jacket defense committed five errors.

Louisiana College tallied two runs in the third, three in the sixth and erupted for eight in the top of the seventh.

Regan LeJeune went 4-for-4 with an RBI, Jordan Mason contributed three hits and Laura Gulota-Parrish and Courtney Ivey both finished with a pair of hits and two RBIs. Mattie Stine and Kate Hines also chipped in one hit and one RBI apiece.