Shaky defense costs Zias in opener; Javs sweep

By Dave Wagner: Freedom New Mexico

Eastern New Mexico University’s softball team hung in for six innings against Texas A&M-Kingsville in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader. Then the Zias’ shaky infield defense caught up with them.

The Javelinas, who came into the twin bill tied with ENMU for last place in the Lone Star Conference South Division, parlayed three errors, a bunt single, a run-scoring wild pitch and a double steal into seven unearned runs — they hit only two balls out of the infield — for a 10-3 win at Zia Softball Field.

Kingsville whacked four home runs and scored 17 runs in the final two innings to win the abbreviated nightcap 22-5, called after five innings because of the eight-run rule.

The teams finish their three-game series with a noon contest today.

Zias junior pitcher Erin Roufosse probably should’ve had a lead going into the seventh inning of the opener, but Kingsville (20-15, 3-5 South) scored a run with the help of two infield hits and two Zias errors in the second for a 3-0 lead.

ENMU (9-23, 1-7) tied it with junior third baseman Paige Colburn’s two-run homer in the fourth and junior second baseman Kate Medrano’s solo shot in the sixth.

Roufosse fielded a one-hop comebacker from Rose Stubbs on the first pitch of the seventh, but threw wide of first to set the stage for a wild inning. Third baseman Yvette Berlanga put the Javs in front with a two-run double.

“We had the game where we wanted it,” ENMU coach Lauren Sigwing said. “We shouldn’t have even been tied at that point.”

The Zias had won three of four this week coming in, and were hoping to make a move against the Javelinas.

“This is a series we needed to win,” Sigwing said. “We needed to play better defense, but the wheels came off.”

The Javs scored three quick runs off sophomore Brittany Widner (4-5) in the first inning of the nightcap, then made it 5-1 in the second on back-to-back RBI doubles by Roxanne Rodriguez and Amanda Arriaga.

Left fielder Janay Gonzalez capped a six-run fourth with a three-run homer. ENMU answered with four in the bottom half off freshman reliever Lauren Denney, including a run-scoring single by Samantha Emms, a two-run double by Tessa Fiorriti and an RBI double from Medrano.

Kingsville put it completely out of reach with a 10-run fifth, including a grand slam by Ali Bodnar and a two-run shot from Berlanga.

“I can’t ever anticipate that kind of score,” Kingsville coach Ricki Rothbauer said. “We just took what we got — when they made mistakes, we capitalized on them.”

Bryan and Berlanga each had four of Kingsville’s 22 hits. Everybody in the starting lineup had a hit and a run scored, and everyone except Stubbs, the leadoff hitter, collected at least one RBI.

Fioritti went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles for the Zias, while Medrano and Melanie Alderette each finished 2-for-3.