Aurelia Sandoval did her part Wednesday in Eastern New Mexico University’s softball home opener on Wednesday. Unfortunately for the Zias, it wasn’t nearly enough.
Sandoval, a freshman catcher from Farmington, delivered grand slam home runs in each game against Texas-Permian Basin at Zia Softball Field. The Falcons, though, walked away with 8-5 and 15-9 wins, the second game called after five innings because of the blustery conditions.
ENMU (4-10), which had won both previous meetings this season with UTPB, trailed 3-1 in the fifth inning of the opener when Sandoval blasted her first slam off sophomore Desiree Valero, putting the Zias in front.
In the sixth, though, the Falcons (6-16) quickly regained the lead on an infield hit by Tomie Ellard, a run-scoring throwing error by pitcher Amy Smith (2-4), an RBI double by shortstop Chelsea Morgan and a run-scoring single by catcher Anna Hollingsworth. UTPB tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the seventh.
Morgan and Stanley each had three of the Falcons’ 15 hits.
Sandoval, who singled and scored the Zias’ first run of the opener on a base hit by shortstop Elizabeth Vasquez in the second, did not start the nightcap. Instead, she came off the bench as a pinch-htter in the fifth with the Zias trailing 15-5 and averted the run rule when she greeted reliever Katelyn Stanley with another slam.
Ellard worked 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Bailie Summers for the win. After giving up Sandoval’s blast, Stanley retired the next three hitters, two on strikes, to end it.
Already leading 4-0, the Falcons chased starter Katie Ramsay (0-4) with an eight-run second that included two-run doubles by Kati Walker and Whitney Kuhrt and a two-run single by Leslie Ericson. The Zias scored four in the bottom half, two on a single by Smith.
Anna Hollingsworth, Lucero Porras and Walker all had three of UTPB’s 15 hits, with Walker driving in four runs. Four players had two hits each for the Zias.
ENMU begins Lone Star Conference play with a three-game weekend series at Midwestern State, starting with a 2 p.m. (MST) twin bill on Friday.