Central Oklahoma's Brooke Zukerman's grand slam delivered two crucial blows to No. 19-ranked Midwestern State Wednesday afternoon at Broncho Field.
First, it capped off a five-run inning allowing the 16th-ranked Bronchos to escape with an 11-8 win while sending the Mustangs to their third consecutive loss.
Even more crucial, it cost MSU the services of senior center fielder Elena Bennett as the All-America center field suffered a broken leg while scaling the fence in an attempt to make a play on the ball.
The four-year starter is MSU's all-time batting average leader (.396) and tops the runs list (174). Bennett is also the club's all-time steals leader (124) and is five hits shy of matching another former All-American -- Kristen Stonecipher -- as the Mustangs' all-time leader in hits at 265.
The slated second game of the planned doubleheader was canceled following the injury.
Midwestern erased a pair of deficits in its fourth consecutive contest against nationally ranked opposition and did it in familiar fashion -- via the long ball.
Sophomore third baseman Kelley Schaefer ripped her seventh homer of the season on a three-run blast in the fifth inning before senior second baseman Carey Campbell an RBI double down the left-field line to knot the game 4-4 heading to the bottom of the sixth.
But the Bronchos countered with back-to-back jacks by Nicole Workman and Hayley Hudson to regain a 6-4 lead.
Midwestern battled back with singles by Courtney Bingham and Schaefer to lead off the top of the seventh before Katelyn Vinson delivered a run-scoring single and Christina Roosmalen followed with a three-run shot to left field to give the Mustangs an 8-6 lead.
MSU freshman Laci Belovsky came on to shut down the Bronchos, but a pair of infield errors allowed UCO to extend inning for Zukerman's bases loaded, two-out blast over the center field fence.
Belovsky took the loss for the Mustangs to fall to 13-4 on the season. She allowed five unearned run on three in 2/3 innings.
Midwestern starter Kat Batey allowed six runs - all earned - on 10 hits in six innings of work.
Bennett paced the Mustangs' 12-hit attack going 3-for-5 with a run scored while Schaefer, Roosmalen and Campbell had two hits each.
Midwestern returns to Lone Star Conference play with a three-game set against Angelo State (Texas) this weekend at Mustangs Park. The teams play a single Friday night at 7 p.m. then square off in a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon.
Central Oklahoma improved to 18-5 on the season.
Midwestern State Tennis did something they haven't done since 2006 when the 31st ranked Mustang men beat the 14th ranked Abilene Christian Wildcats 5-4 Tuesday evening at the MSU Tennis Center.
Led by the play of seniors Luke Joyce and Colby Meeks, the Mustangs (8-4, 1-1) stunned the Cats (10-10, 1-1) on the first day of spring.
As MSU's No. 1 doubles team, Joyce and Meeks gutted out a 9-8 win with a 7-5 tiebreaker over the ACU team of Jason Proctor and Borja Cortes.
Then both won their singles matches, as No. 39 ranked Joyce won at No. 1 over the Wildcats' Guilherme Gesser 7-6, 6-1, and Meeks used three sets to win at No. 3 over Proctor 0-6, 7-5, 6-3.
The Mustangs also scored with the No. 2 doubles team of freshmen Kyle Davidson and Franko Siljeg who beat Gesser and Nicklas Wingord 8-5. Siljeg added a win at No. 4 singles over Cortes 7-6, 6-2.
"It's a great win," said MSU coach Scott Linn. "We got some great senior leadership today. It's a total team effort and we got some great play from our freshmen, but our seniors stepped up."
The Wildcats picked up the No. 3 doubles point as Marco Beasley and Kyle Plum defeated MSU's Kacper Boborykin and Tomas Grejtak 8-2.
ACU won at No. 2 singles as Wingord beat Davidson 1-6, 7-6, 6-4. The Wildcat also grabbed the No. 5 and 6 singles with Alfredo Desiati beating Boborykin 6-4, 6-3 and Marco Beasley downing Austin Crawford 7-6, 6-3.
Midwestern is back in action on Thursday at the MSU Tennis Center hosting McMurry at 3 p.m.
The Midwestern State Mustangs dropped the first of a four-game homestand as the No. 3 Abilene Christian Wildcats claimed a 6-3 Lone Star Conference win.
The No. 40 Mustangs fall to 6-5 overall, 1-1 in LSC play. ACU is 13-5 overall, 3-0 in the LSC.
The Mustangs grabbed one point in doubles as the No. 2 team of Sarita Adhikary and Lauren Pineda beat Brittney Reed and Kaysie Hermsdorf 9-8 (7-4).
In singles Kayla Casey won at No. 3 over Reed 6-1, 6-2, while Madeline Schorlemmer took Nada Marijanovic 5-7, 6-2, 10-6 at No. 5.
"We're still going through some growing pains," said MSU coach Scott Linn. "We changed up the lineup a bit and need some time to adjust."
ACU collected the wins in doubles at No. 1 as ACU's 14th ranked team of Hanna Kelley and Micah Hermsdorf beat Schorlemmer and Kayla Casey 8-4, and the No. 3 team of Julia Mongin and Marijanovic defeated Taylor Coffman and Fatima Clementino 8-3.
The Wildcats Mongin, ranked fifth nationally and second in the region, handed Coffman a 6-0, 6-1 loss at No. 1, while No. 32 Micah Hermsdorf beat Adhikary 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 at No. 2.
Kaysie Hermsdorf was a winner at No. 4 over MSU's Pineda 7-6 (7-4), 6-1, and Kelley beat the Mustangs Kendra Casey at No. 6, 6-0, 6-1.
The Mustangs continue the homestand on Thursday as they entertain McMurry at the MSU Tennis Center in a 3 p.m. match.