Zias win series with windy 16-14 victory

Eastern New Mexico University sophomore Albie Medina had an interesting day in Saturday's wind-blown Lone Star Conference game against Incarnate Word at Zia Softball Field.

Medina delivered four hits — including three doubles up the right-center field alley — and drove in five runs as the designated player in the Zias' 16-14 win over the Cardinals. She also was in line for her LSC-leading fourth save until UIW made things interesting in the seventh with Victoria Silva's grand slam and Monica Acuna's solo shot — coming on consecutive pitches.

Never mind, though. Sophomore Katie Ramsay managed to get the final two outs — leaving the tying runs stranded on base — for her first save.

"We knew anything can happen (today)," ENMU coach Lauren Sigwing said. "We knew it was going to be a bad wind."

The Zias (10-25, 3-6 LSC), who split with UIW on Friday and have now won four of their last six, took a conference series for the first time since the end of last season. They pounded Cardinals ace Briana Sanchez (10-6) and reliever Whitney Waltrip for 21 hits, the most by ENMU since 2008.

"We showed a lot of fight," said Medina, a Las Cruces High grad who more than doubled her season's total in two-base hits (she now has five) and raised her average 40 points to .290. "We kept hitting, and that's what we needed to do."

She couldn't get out of the seventh, though.

"They hit a lot this weekend," Medina said of the Cardinals (18-12, 4-5). "It was good on their part to stay up, but Katie did a great job and shut them down."

The Zias trailed 6-0 when they struck for seven consecutive hits to begin an eight-run third off Sanchez, who nearly had a shutout in Friday's opener but saw her league-leading earned run average skyrocket from 1.33 coming into the series to 2.16.

Third baseman Lizzy Velasquez went 4-for-4 with a walk for the Zias, who evened their home record at 8-8, while left fielder Kyra Sirag added three hits and scored four times. Four others had two hits.

While Sigwing noted the Zias occasionally practice in blustery conditions like Saturday's, UIW coach Amanda Gamboa said her team didn't handle it all that well.

"It's something you just have to adapt to," she said. "Eastern New Mexico did a really good job of just playing through it.

"They (Cardinals) didn't give up, but you shouldn't lose a six-run lead."

Carlsbad freshman Mary Jo Granger (4-2) earned the win for ENMU, pitching a bit better than her line shows — 4 1/3 innings, 10 hits and eight runs (six earned). Several of the hits were wind-blown.

Sigwing credited a diving catch by center fielder Jacqueline Candelaria in the right-center alley with two on and two out in the second as a spark for the Zias.

"Mary Jo was throwing a great game, but it didn't look like we were ready to play until Jackie made that catch in the outfield," Sigwing said. "Jackie's catch helped get us started."

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