Above photo provided by the UMHB Athletics Department
BELTON, Texas- The UMHB softball team notched its second ASC series sweep of the season on Saturday afternoon, as the Cru rolled to a 15-6 victory over Howard Payne.
The trio of victories moved UMHB to 17-11 on the season and 11-7 in conference action. The Crusaders, led by first-year head coach Melissa Mojica, are third in the ASC West Divison, with nine conference games remaining. HPU dropped to dead last in the standings, with a 7-11 ASC record.
The key in game one was pitching, as UMHB rolled to a 7-0 victory on Friday. HPU was held to just one hit and a total of two baserunners as UMHB starter Bayleigh Grogan was dominant in the circle and fired a complete game. Grogan moved to 10-7 on the season and struck out three.
With HPU’s offense struggling to find traction, the Crusader bats got going early, as eight batters stepped to the plate in the bottom half of the first. A base hit from second baseman Elissa Elliott scored the only run UMHB needed, as center fielder Lexi Harris raced home from second.
The momentum from game one carried over to game two, as the opponents played a doubleheader Friday. Nothing changed for either side, as UMHB earned an 8-2 victory to secure the series win.
The Cru scored seven runs over the first two innings, and seemed to seal the victory on an RBI groundout from shortstop Milly Cesare, which put UMHB in front 7-0 in the second.
HPU briefly cut into the deficit and eliminated the chance of a second shutout in the third, as errors on both UMHB left fielder Bailey Eggleston and third baseman Elisabeth Paul allowed HPU’s Samantha Euresti to score from second on a routine ground ball to the left side of the infield.
The result was all but decided by that point however, as the Flores twins held the lead in the circle. Kami Flores earned the start, and went four innings with just one earned run to move to 4-1 on the season. Kylee Flores came in for the fifth and tallied the save, her first of the season. HPU was held to just five hits and two walks.
Saturday’s series finale saw a high-scoring affair, with UMHB prevailing 15-6.
The contest went just five innings, as the Cru run-ruled the Yellow Jackets.
UMHB found its rhythm at the plate early on, and scored all 15 of its runs in the first three innings of play. The Crusaders rattled off 17 hits, including three from both first baseman Bailey Wagner and right fielder Taylor Holman.
It was a home run derby of sorts for the Cru, as four were hit in the first three innings. Wagner had two on the day, as she swatted a two-run homer in UMHB’s fourth at-bat of the game. Holman followed in the very next at-bat with a solo home run of her own. Catcher Tyeann Johnson led off UMHB’s scoring in the second with another solo shot, but it paled in comparison to Wagner’s grand slam in the third, as the Cru went up 14-5.
The Cru will set its sights on a road series at McMurry next weekend, with a doubleheader Friday and the series finale on Saturday.