After stealing the series opener against 11th-ranked Texas A&M-Commerce on Friday night, the MSU Texas softball team was unable to continue the momentum, dropping both games on Saturday. The Lions recorded a 10-1 victory in the opener before a 9-1 win in the series finale.
Junior second baseman Samantha Loos reached base safely for the 15th and 16th-consecutive game, drawing three walks on the afternoon. Sophomore outfielder Tucker Caraway reached in both games as well to run her streak to 12-consecutive games.
In the opener, MSU cut the deficit to one, down 2-1 in the third, but would never pull closer. Freshman shortstop Caycee Griffin opened the third with a single through the left side of the infield and moved into scoring position on an errant throw back to the circle. The Healdton, Okla., product moved up another 60 feet on a groundout by Caraway. Sophomore outfielder Kelsey Eropkin drove a line drive to center to put the Mustangs on the board.
The momentum by the Maroon and Gold was short-lived, however, as TAMUC struck for a three-spot in the top of the fourth. Starting pitcher Riley Adams surrendered a leadoff hit-by-pitch to Jodie Hill and then walked Kimber Neal on five pitches. Playing Ciera Nunez to slap the ball, MSU shifted around to the left side and brought Caraway into the infield. With right field open, Nunez pulled an inside the park home run into the right field corner to stretch the Lions' lead to 5-1.
TAMUC would add a pair of runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to push the advantage to 10-1. MSU went hitless after junior Carli Woolsey's single in the bottom of the fourth, resulting in the six-inning run-rule.
In the second game, MSU surrendered a six-spot in the top of the third to give the Lions control before a three-spot in the sixth gave TAMUC a 9-0 lead. Starting pitcher Katie Dean held the Mustangs without a hit for the first five innings.
Caraway worked a leadoff walk in the bottom of the sixth to give MSU life. After stealing second, Eropkin beat the throw on a slow-roller to short to break up the no-hit bid. Caraway came home on a double play ball to get the Maroon and Gold on the scoreboard.
The MSU Texas softball team rallied from a 3-2 deficit in the sixth to complete the upset of 11th-ranked Texas A&M-Commerce, 5-4, on a beautiful Friday evening at Mustangs Park.
Sophomore first baseman Carli Woolsey capped a three-run sixth with a two RBI double to the alley in right-center, finishing 1-for-3. Senior pitcher Gracie Bogle held the Lions in check for much of the night to improve to 2-2 on the season. The Tulsa native limited the high-powered TAMUC offense to three runs, none earned, on five hits while matching a season-high with five strikeouts over 6.0 innings of work.
The Mustangs wasted no time in putting runs on the board. Sophomore outfielder Tucker Caraway opened the home half of the first with a triple to center. Sophomore outfielder Kelsey Eropkin was hit by Emily Otto's 1-2 offering to put runners on the corners before senior third baseman Kelcee Thompson broke the scoring seal, lining a single to center. With two outs, sophomore outfielder Lauren Lindgren skied a popup on the infield that was dropped by third baseman Kimber Neal, allowing Eropkin to score and give MSU a 2-0 advantage.
Despite putting runners aboard in every inning, Bogle consistently worked her way out of trouble. The right-hander stranded eight baserunners over the first five innings, including leaving multiple runners on in the second, fourth and fifth.
TAMUC eventually capitalized on a pair of free passes and an error to take the lead in the top of the sixth. Vanessa Avina drew a leadoff walk and moved into scoring position with one out when Neal reached on a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt. Bri Sims loaded the bases, working a walk before Ciera Nunez lifted a sacrifice fly to center to put the Lions on the board. Baylea Higgs followed with an infield single deep in the hole at short while Neal scored from second to take the lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, Thompson was hit by Neal's first offering to start the Mustangs' rally. Senior catcher Amanda Thomas lined an opposite-field shot to the right-center alley, bringing freshman pinch-runner Marley Eller 60-feet from tying the game. Lindgren smoked a single to left, easily scoring Eller and tying the game.
With runners on first and second, Woolsey stepped to the plate. Jumping on the first pitch she saw, the Enid, Okla., native deposited a double into the right-center alley to give MSU the lead and an insurance run going to the seventh.
Junior reliever Abbie Lancaster was called upon after Riley Adams surrendered a leadoff walk to Mariah Jameyson and a double by Vanessa Muro. With the tying run on second and no outs, Lancaster induced a routine popup to first and got Jodie Hill to ground out to second. After a walk and a stolen base, the Idabel, Okla., native struck out Taylor Pruitt on a 3-2 pitch to close out the win and earn her fourth save of the year.