Zia softball swept by Western

Freedom Newspapers

SILVER CITY — Eastern New Mexico University’s pitching was pretty good, and so was the defense.
It’s hard to win softball games, though, when you only score six runs in four games.
Western New Mexico parlayed solid pitching and a couple of breaks into a four-game sweep of the Zias, finishing it off with 5-1 and 3-2 wins on Saturday.
Western (8-4) won Friday’s doubleheader 2-0 and 8-3.
ENMU is now 4-8 for the season, and a pattern has emerged — the Zias lost their first four games, then won four in a row before running into WNMU.
First-year Zias coach Kevin Blaskowski noted his squad hadn’t played for nearly two weeks — the Lone Star Conference First-Pitch Tourney in Irving, Texas, on Feb. 13-14 was a victim of the weather — and said the idle time didn’t help the cause.
“We came back from (Las) Vegas (Nev., in a South Central Regional crossover tournament Feb. 7-8) playing really well, and it was a little like having to start over,” he said.
After having just one baserunner through six innings — a second-inning walk to senior pitcher Maegan Rhoten — in Saturday’s opener, the Zias broke through for a run in the seventh on an error, a single to left by Cassandra Gonzales and another error. But WNMU’s Angela Slaugh (7-2) had more than enough to finish the one-hitter.
Rhoten was injured in the fifth inning when she swung and grounded out to first, the ball pinching her right thumb against the bat. Blaskowski said she was to have the thumb X-rayed today, and would be out for at least the time being.
Slaugh also earned the second-game win in relief, with Western punching over the tie-breaking run in the sixth on doubles by Bethany Harris and Kyle Hicok.
Gonzales was 3-for-3 in the game with a walk, two singles and a double, and finished the weekend 5-for-9 at the plate. Sophomore Katie McDermott hit a pair of sacrifice flies for the Zias, but in the seventh Slaugh struck out McDermott and pinch-hitter Tracy Jordan to strand the go-ahead runs in scoring position.
“Gonzales hit the ball well,” Blaskowski said. “We just couldn’t create any offense against Slaugh. She had good control and good movement, and hit her spots well. She’s the best pitcher we’ve seen this spring.
“They’re picked to win the Pac-West (Conference) this year,” he said of the Lady Mustangs. “They’re very talented; I think they’re the best team we’ve played so far.”
Freshman Ashley Maier, getting her first college start, threw a complete-game six-hitter for the Zias.