Walkoff secures split for Zias

Freedom New Mexico

Senior first baseman Kristen Cruickshank hit a three-run, two-out walk-off homer, helping Eastern New Mexico pull a 6-5 win over St. Edwards for a softball split Wednesday at Zia Field.

The visiting Hilltoppers (17-11) scored six runs in the seventh inning to take a 7-1 win in the opener.

Down 5-3 entering the bottom of the seventh, the Zias (7-16) got a leadoff single from centerfielder Josette Aguirre.

Catcher Michelle Anderson hit a two-out single off St. Edwards starter Diana Cezeaux (7-5) to put two runners for Cruickshank, who went 2-for-4 in the game and added an RBI single in the Zias’ two-run third inning.

Amanda Lale (1-2), who gave up three runs over the final two innings in relief of starter Kimberly Crouse, was credited with the win. Crouse struck out eight and allowed two unearned runs in five innings of work.

Leftfielder Alex Mayo Otis went 1-for-4 in the nightcap, and had her nine-game hitting streak snapped with an 0-for-3 in the opener.

Hilltopper second baseman Miranda Yeager was 1-for-2 with a two-run single in the fourth.

Cruickshank got the Zias started in the opener with a one-out single to score Mayo Otis, who walked to lead off the first. But Paige Sandahl (9-4) held the Zias to just two hits over the final six innings.

The HIlltoppers tied matters up with a second-inning solo blast from designated player Stacy Giles, then took advantage of five hits and four Zias errors in the sixth.

Cruickshank (4-7) pitched the final 2 2/3 innings in relief of Krouse, with none of her six allowed runs earned.

The Zias are back in action Friday, when they start a three-game homestand with a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Lone Star Conference rival Angelo State