The East Central University softball team split the opening games of the 2014 season at Lady Tiger Field against Arkansas Tech in Great American Conference action. The Lady Tigers (12-7, 4-2 GAC) first fell 4-5 in 9 innings and then rebounded with an 8-2 win.
ECU was led by senior Gina Mengwasser, who tallied a .500 average. Mengwasser garnered four hits, scored once and added two RBIs on a two-run home run in the bottom of the first in game one. Sophomore Leah Tigert added a .429 average, with three hits, two runs scored and five RBIs.
Junior Brianna Nunley earned both decisions; with eight innings of action and a complete game win in game two. Nunley allowed nine hits, two runs and struck out five.
The Lady Tigers and the Golden Suns (6-4, 1-1 GAC) will return to action, Saturday, March 1 for a double-header starting at noon at Lady Tiger Field.
Game 2 – ECU 8, ATU 2
The Lady Tigers came out swinging in the first inning of the second game, scoring two runs. Freshman Nicole Nordie started things off with a walk and was sent home after a two-out double by junior Kayci Snider down the right field line. Junior Chelsea Patterson hit a single back at the pitcher and both runners advanced on a pass ball. That set up freshman Autumn Suydam for an RBI with a single to third.
ECU added a run in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-0 advantage. Suydam earned a bunt single and was advanced on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Laruen Reeves. Tigert earned the RBI with a single up the middle.
The Golden Suns cut the lead to one in the top of the sixth, with two runs.
But the Lady Tigers came out strong in the bottom of the sixth, opening up an 8-2 lead with five runs.
Sophomore Jordynn VanPelt led off with a double to center field and was advanced to third when junior Kaile Marcum reached on an error. Snider earned the RBI with a fielder choice that left everyone safe and left runners at first and third.
Patterson moved the runners to second and third with a ground out to third. Suydam then earned an RBI with a single to left field. The final three runs were scored when Tigert hit a shot over the right field fence for the 8-2 lead.
ATU recorded one hit in the top of the seventh, but the final two batters hit fly balls to left and center field for the 8-2 final.
Game 1 – ATU 5, ECU 4 (9)
ECU scored quickly, with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Tigert was hit by a pitch and was sent home when Mengwasser hit a two-run home run over the center field fence.
The Golden Suns were held without a run until the fourth inning, when they tallied one for a 2-1 deficit.
The Lady Tigers responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth for a 3-1 lead. Dow singled and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Lacey Williams. Dow then scored when VanPelt hit a single up the middle.
ECU added one more run in the bottom of the fifth for a 5-1 advantage. Reeves led off with a triple down the left field line and was sent home on a single by Tigert to right field.
It looked like the Lady Tigers were going to hold on for the win, as ATU was held scoreless in the sixth. However, the Golden Suns rallied to score three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game at four and force the extra innings.
Both teams had runners in scoring positing in the eighth inning, but were unable to capitalize. ATU then tallied a run in the top of the ninth on three hits for the lead.
ECU got one runner on in the bottom of the ninth, but fell 4-5.