The 12th ranked West Texas A&M Lady Buffs used the long ball to get to the region's top pitcher as WT beat the fifth-ranked Midwestern State Mustangs 4-1 in the first game of the NCAA Division II South Central Super Regional at Mustangs Park.
The Lady Buffs (50-16) scored in each of the first three innings to tag the Mustangs (50-12) with just their fifth loss at home this season.
Lady Buff starter Marci Womack improved to 26-8 overall in the duel with MSU starter Brittney Tanner (29-8). Both pitchers struck out 10, but Womack allowed just one run on four hits without allowing a walk. Tanner allowed four runs on five hits, while walking three.
WT took advantage of Tanner's first inning jitters for their first run. Tanner walked two of the first three batters faced before Kaitlin Witte singled down the left field line to drive in Alyssa Lemos. Tanner walked another in the opening frame – but wouldn't issue another free pass.
WT scored on a Meghan Slattery home run in the second, and added to the lead with a Kim LeCompte round-tripper in the third for a 3-0 advantage.
"One of our goals was that we were going to have to score early," said West Texas A&M Coach Kevin Blaskowski. "Putting up a run in the first inning, then the second and the third, that was big. I felt if we could come out, get a lead and let Marci (Womack) get comfortable in the circle, we could be successful."
"West Texas came out firing on all cylinders," said MSU Coach Brady Tigert. "Womack did a great job pinpointing her pitching and moving the ball well. She kept us off balance. We weren't scared, just nervous and we came out flat. You can't do that against good teams."
Alyson Reynolds collected a pair of hits for MSU in the second and fourth innings, but the Mustangs could not advance her.
But in the fifth, MSU opened with a singles from Amanda Potysman and Carey Campbell. Nikki Duff pinch ran for Campbell and was called out at second on a fielder's choice grounder by McKenzie Sickler for the first out. Potysman scored on Courtney Bingham's ground out before Elena Bennett grounded out to end the inning.
The Lady Buffs got the run back in the top of the sixth when Witte belted a shot to left field.