The East Central University softball team split a key Great American Conference double-header with Arkansas-Monticello at Lady Tiger Field. The Lady Tigers (16-6, 4-2 GAC) earned a 1-0 decision in the opening game and then fell 2-6.
ECU was led at the plate by senior Shelby Simmons, who tallied five hits in the two games and added two RBIs. Sophomore Lauren Bancroft tallied four hits in the series, while freshman Jordynn VanPelt added two hits, including a game-winning home run.
Freshman Lacey Paulk picked up the win in the circle for the Lady Tigers, recording 13 strikeouts and moving her season record to 6-1. Senior Ali Manship suffered the loss and is now 8-2 on the season.
The Lady Tigers and the Cotton Blossoms (17-9, 5-1 GAC) will resume the series, Saturday, March 9 at 11 a.m. for the first game of a double-header.
Game 1 – ECU 1, UAM 0
The opening game of the series was a pitcher’s duel, with only one run scored in the game. The Lady Tigers held UAM to just two hits and tallied seven of their own, but the lone run came from a solo home run in the second inning.
VanPelt was the second batter of the inning when she sent a shot over the left center fence to earn the game winning run. Both teams had chances through the rest of the game, but left runners stranded on base and ECU won 1-0.
Game 2 – UAM 6, ECU 2
The Cotton Blossoms wasted no time getting on the scoreboard in the second game, scoring a run in the first and second and two runs in the fourth and fifth innings for a 0-6 advantage.
The Lady Tigers earned a run in the fifth to cut the deficit to five (1-6). Sophomores Kayci Snider, Chelsea Patterson and Bancroft all singled to load the bases with one out. Simmons then sent a run across the plate with a single to third.
Bancroft and Simmons combined for a second run in the seventh to make the score 2-6. Bancroft singled to left center and Simmons sent her home with a triple to right center.