Lady Jackets unable to salvage series finale, swept by top-ranked UT-Tyler, 8-0

Derrick Stuckly / Brownwood Bulletin
HPU first baseman Yasmine Ayala (10) attempts to retire UT-Tyler’s Kaylee Prather after a bunt during the Lady Jackets’ 8-0 loss Saturday in the series finale against the No. 1 Lady Patriots.

The Howard Payne Lady Jackets were unable to salvage the finale of an American Southwest Conference weekend softball series against No. 1 UT-Tyler as the visiting Lady Patriots ran their win streak to 15 games with an 8-0, six-inning triumph Saturday.

UT-Tyler (20-2, 12-0) outscored Howard Payne (10-13, 7-11) by a 32-1 count in 18 innings of competition, belting eight home runs in three games.

The Lady Jackets, who dropped Friday’s games 10-1 and 14-0, kept UT-Tyler off the scoreboard for the first two innings Saturday. The Lady Patriots struck for a solo run in the third, added three runs in the fourth and ended the game with a four-spot in the top of the sixth.

Celese Tirres started in the circle for Howard Payne and surrendered four runs — three earned — on six hits with a strikeout and two walks. Rachel Jackson pitched one-third of an inning and yielded four runs on three hits with one walk, while Alicia Tanguma recorded the final two outs, but not before giving up one hit.

Offensively, Howard Payne — which tallied one run and four hits all weekend — chalked up a pair of singles in the finale. Celina Ortiz recorded a one-out hit in the fourth inning and Adrienne Sanchez singled into left field in the sixth. Allison Eaton also reached on a fielding error in the second.

Kelsie Batten picked up the win for the Lady Patriots, tossing five innings of two-hit ball with a pair of strikeouts. Alaina Kissinger worked a perfect sixth for UT-Tyler.

Offensively, Kristin Lopez, who homered five times and collected 14 RBIs during the series, ended her weekend with a 3 for 3 effort that featured a pair of two-run round-trippers. Kaylee Prather and Raven Rodriguez each chipped in two hits and an RBI, while Vanessa Carrizales added two RBIs and a base hit.

The three weekend losses dropped Howard Payne from fifth to eighth place in the ASC standings with a dozen league games remaining. The top six seeds qualify for the ASC tournament.

Howard Payne will visit Hardin-Simmons (12-10, 8-10) for three ASC games Thursday and Friday. Games 1 and 2 will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday with the finale slated for noon Friday.