By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The Eastern New Mexico Zia softball team finished with a flurry of offense to complete a doubleheader sweep of New Mexico Highlands on Saturday at Zia Softball Field.
With the score tied in the bottom of the eighth inning, senior Kelsey Kubik hit a bases-loaded single to left field to bring home the winning run and put the finishing touches on a come-from-behind 9-8 win.
ENMU (8-2) also took the opener of the twin bill in eight innings 5-4. The teams complete the four-game set with an 11 a.m. twin bill today.
“I’m so proud of our girls for coming back,” Zias coach Armando Quiroz said.
“Kelsey struggled the whole doubleheader, and when we needed it she came through.”
The Zias found themselves down 7-3 after junior Erin Pino put the Cowgirls up with a third-inning grand slam, capping a seven-run inning. In the sixth, when Zias junior Tawna Tagaloa belted a three-run homer to cut the gap to 7-6.
After another Highlands home run made it 8-6 in the top of the seventh, Zias freshman Rebecca Quinones slapped a two-run double ito left field to send the game into extra innings.
ENMU quickly dispatched the Highlands offense in the top of the eighth, setting the stage for Kubik.
“I was kind of mad at myself because I hadn’t gotten a hit all day,” she said. “It was definitely needed for me and for the team.”
In the opener, the Cowgirls erased a 4-1 deficit with two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth. In the eighth, ENMU plated the winning run on a squeeze bunt single by Nicole Dickson.
“They never give up,” Quiroz said. “I know we’re never out of it because we can swing the bat.”
After today’s twin bill, the Zias will travel to Phoenix Wednesday for the Schutt Sports Leadoff Classic, a four-day event beginning on Thursday.
ENMU 5, NM Highlands 4
Highlands 100 021 00 — 4 7 1
ENMU 130 000 01 — 5 10 2
Karlee Trione and Ashley Rahn; Nicole Dickson, Kristen Cruickshank (6) and Michelle Anderson. W — Cruickshank (1-0). L — Trione (0-1). DP — New Mexico Highlands 1. LOB — New Mexico Highlands 5, Eastern New Mexico 8. 2B — New Mexico Highlands: Karina Hernandez, Kelsey Hodson. Eastern New Mexico: Valerie Villela. 3B — New Mexico Highlands: Hernandez. T — 2:05. A — n/a.
ENMU 9, NM Highlands 8
Highlands 007 000 10 — 8 9 0
ENMU 120 003 21 — 9 11 1
Michelle Sayen and Rahn; Cruickshank, Dickson (4) and Anderson. W — Dickson (6-2). L — Sayen (0-1). DP — Eastern New Mexico 2. LOB — New Mexico Highlands 4, Eastern New Mexico 7. 2B — New Mexico Highlands: Pino. Eastern New Mexico: Kristina Goodman 2, Alex Mayo-Otis. HR — New Mexico Highlands: Karina Hernandez (1), Pino (1). Eastern New Mexico: Cruikshank (1), Tanya Tagalos (1). T — 2:15. A — 35.