Photo courtesy of UMHB Athletics
Leading off (from Alpine, Texas): Even in the far reaches of west Texas, the UMHB softball team continued its dominant run through American Southwest Conference play, run-ruling Sul Ross State in three straight games as the Crusaders moved to 27-9 overall, extending their win streak to 13 games. In one of the series’ most impressive numbers, UMHB outscored the Lobos 46-5.
UMHB remains in first place in the ASC standings heading into next weekend’s final conference series of the season, hosting Concordia (TX) in three games.
Here is a look at how things played out in Alpine…
Game 1: UMHB, 20, SRSU, 2 (5 innings)
UMHB scored its most runs of any game this season, and tied the third-highest single-game scoring mark in program history in the 20-run effort on Friday afternoon. In fact, it was the first time since 2013 that the Crusaders put 20 or more runs on the board in a game, having tallied 21 in a March 2, 2013 win over Ozarks.
That came in large part due to an 11-run second inning, in which UMHB had 10 hits and sent 16 batters to the plate. Blakely Niles, Allyse Castillo, and Lexi Harris each reached base twice in the inning, and Julia Crofut’s three-run homer provided the big spark, extending the lead to 10-1.
UMHB hit for the cycle as a team in the 18-run victory, tallying 17 singles, four doubles, a triple from Izzy Gutierrez, along with Crofut’s home run. The lead widened to as much as 20-1 after Tori Skinner scored on a fielder’s choice in the fifth, before a home run from SRSU made the final score 20-2.
Top hitters: Lexi Harris (3-for-3, 3 runs, BB, RBI), Taylor Holman (2-for-3, run, 4 RBI), Blakely Niles (2-for-2, 2 runs, BB, RBI)
W: Kami Flores, UMHB (14-3)
L: Leanza Chambers, SRSU (8-4)
Game 2: UMHB, 13, SRSU, 3 (5 innings)
The Cru once again struck first, and did so quickly, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after the first inning that soon became a 13-0 advantage by the time SRSU stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third.
Once again, UMHB hit for the cycle, with five extra-base hits, including a three-run home run from Gutierrez that opened the game. Two more runs in the second, along with six in the third, proved to be more than enough for the Cru’s to secure the run-rule victory.
Emilee Wade, in just her third start of the year, went four innings, striking out three while allowing four hits and a run. She did not issue a single walk.
Top hitters: Izzy Gutierrez (2-for-3,run, 5 RBI), Lindsey Polleschultz (1-for-1, 3 runs, 2 BB), Taylor Holman (3-for-3, 2 runs)
W: Emilee Wade, UMHB (1-1)
L: Hunter Montes, SRSU (0-8)
Game 3: UMHB, 13, SRSU, 0 (5 innings)
For the sixth straight contest, UMHB run-ruled its opponent, handing the Lobos a 13-0 defeat on Saturday morning. The dominant effort was highlighted by the Cru’s seven-run fourth inning, as Polleschultz doubled with one out and the bases loaded, clearing the bases as UMHB doubled its lead, from 3-0 to 6-0.
Niles came up with another key double later in the inning, scoring Bailey Eggleston and Kylie Green on the play, as the Cru went up 10-0 with two outs. By that point, all UMHB needed to do was hold SRSU to two or fewer runs over the next two innings en route to a run-rule, but UMHB’s lineup had other plans.
UMHB tacked on three more runs in the top of the fifth, before reliever Danielle Gillian closed things out in the bottom of the final frame, allowing just one hit.
Top hitters: Lexi Harris (2-for-4, 2 runs), Julia Crofut (2-for-2, RBI, BB, run), Blakely Niles (2-for-2, 4 RBI, BB, run)
W: Kami Flores, UMHB (14-3)
L: Leanza Chambers, SRSU (8-5)
ASC Tournament Outlook: Still atop the ASC standings in first place, and having the head-to-head advantage over second-place ETBU, thanks to the sweep of the Tigers in March, UMHB simply needs to win two out of its final three games in next weekend’s series against Concordia in order to secure the ASC Regular Season Title and host the ASC Tournament.