Photo courtesy of UMHB athletics
Leading Off (from Belton, Texas): The UMHB softball team overpowered the competition on its home field this weekend, shutting down Ozarks at the plate in three consecutive run-rule victories, as their win streak lengthened to 11 games.
Pivotal points of the series:
- Game one on Friday afternoon was highlighted by the no-hitter from senior pitcher Grason Long, who did not allow a hit or a walk in five innings of work. Only an error took away the chance of a perfect game as Long etched her name into the history books as the fourth Crusader to toss a no-hitter and the first to do so since 2015. Read more about the achievement.
- Also in the series opener, a 9-0 victory, the bats were very much present for the Cru, as Julia Crofut began the scoring with her RBI double in the first inning that scored both Blane Simmons and Lindsey Polleschultz.
- Polleschultz scored twice in the win, also coming across on Taylor Holman’s 2-run homer in the fifth inning that enacted the run-rule, essentially walking it off for UMHB.
- A wild play gave UMHB two of its three first-inning runs in game two on Friday, as Holman hit a ball high to right field. It was far enough into the outfield that Polleschultz tagged from third base, and both Bailey Eggleston and Kylie Green tagged from first and second base, respectively. But an error charged to Ozarks left fielder TK allowed Green to race home, putting the Cru in front, 3-0.
- Doubles from Izzy Gutierrez and Holman in the second inning further added to the advantage, as Gutierrez drove in Lexi Harris and Allyse Castillo for a 6-0 lead before Holman brought Green across with her two-out, two-bagger later in the frame.
- Holman’s second home run of the series made it 10-1, the eventual final score, in the fourth inning, as she wrapped up a 2-for-2, 3 RBI performance at the plate.
- The series finale on Saturday afternoon was also senior day, and Long, a senior herself, picked up yet another win, moving to 11-4 on the year. She did not allow a hit in 2.2 innings of work, and struck out six, notching her 100th strikeout of the year. Her total number of strikeouts this season has risen to 103.
- Harris, Elissa Elliott, and Holman each had two hits in the 8-0 shutout, as UMHB put six on the board in the first inning alone. Gutierrez’s RBI single brought Harris across and Holman sent yet another home run flying past the outfield fence of Dee Dillon Field. That third homer of the series resulted in three runs for the Cru.
- Castillo gave UMHB the run-rule victory with her RBI single in the fifth, scoring Kaitlin Powers from third in walk-off fashion. Ozarks did not record a single out in the fifth inning.
Looking ahead: UMHB hits the road for its final regular season series next weekend, battling Sul Ross State in three games in Alpine. The Cru concludes its regular season slate with a home ASC series May 5-6 against Concordia (TX).
ASC Tournament outlook: UMHB, at 17-3 in league play, leads ETBU by one game in the ASC standings, and remains in first place. The Crusaders have the tiebreaker advantage of ETBU, but could secure the league’s regular season title and hosting rights for the ASC Tournament by winning out their final six games over the next two weeks. Nonetheless, UMHB is as close to a lock as you can get for the ASC Tournament.
UMHB’s stat leaders: Taylor Holman (5-for-7, 8 RBIs, 3 runs scored, 3 HR), Izzy Gutierrez (3-for-8, 4 RBIs, 2 runs scored), Lexi Harris (6-for-7, 6 runs scored)