Softball Splits Games at Midwestern State Tournament

The East Central University softball team went 1-1 in the second day of the Midwestern State Tournament, falling first to Midwestern State, 4-3, before rebounding for a 9-0 win in five innings against Eastern New Mexico.

The Lady Tigers (9-3) recorded 16 hits over the course of the two games, with sophomores Lauren Bancroft, Peyton Watson and junior Gina Mengwasser all earned two hits. Sophomore Kayci Snider earned her first grand slam of the season, while freshman Jordynn VanPelt earned her second home run of the year.

Sophomore Lacey Paulk earned a win in the circle to move to 2-1 in the circle for the season. Paulk allowed eight hits and struck out five batters in five innings of work. Sophomore Brianna Nunley suffered the loss to move to 1-1 on the year. Nunley allowed nine hits and struck out five batters in seven innings of action.

“We made some mental mistakes against Midwestern that cost us a couple of runs,” said head coach Destini Anderson. “Brianna Nunley did a good job against a good hitting Midwestern team. We outhit MSU so it hurts to lose those kinds of games. However, we responded will in the first inning against Eastern New Mexico after a tough loss.”

The Lady Tigers will continue at the Midwestern State Tournament, Sunday, Feb. 17 with two games. ECU will first face Texas A&M International at 9 a.m. and then the host Mustangs at 11 a.m.

Game 2 vs. Eastern New Mexico -
ECU wasted no time getting back in their offensive stride against the Zias, scoring five runs in the first inning. Sophomore Lauren Bancroft started the game with a double to right center and was sent to third on a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Chelsea Patterson. Senior Ali Manship was hit by a pitch and junior Gina Mengwasser was walked to load the bases.

Sophomore Kayci Snider then garnered her first grand slam of the season to left center to score the first four runs. Two batters later freshman Laruen Reeves tallied the first home run of her career over the right field fence for a 5-0 lead.

The Lady Tigers defense held strong, allowing ENMU to earn just five hits, but no runs in the next three innings before ECU added four more runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Patterson started the inning with a single to center field and was joined on base by Manship, who walked, and Mengwasser, who reached on an error to load the bases. Snider scored the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly to right field. The bases were loaded again when sophomore Peyton Watson was walked. Reeves, freshmen Leah Tigert and Autumn Suydam all earned walks to have three more runs cross the plate for the 9-0 lead.

The Zias then went three-up, three-down in the top of the fifth to force the game to be called after five innings.

Game 1 vs. Midwestern State
The Mustangs opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning, scoring two runs on two hits. ECU tied the game at two in the top of the second.

Watson singled up the middle and was brought around by Tigert, who singled to left field. Bancroft then scored Tigert with a double to right center.

MSU added two runs in the bottom of the fourth for a 2-4 lead.

The Lady Tigers cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the sixth on a home run to left field from freshman Jordynn VanPelt.

Both teams then held each other scoreless over the remainder of the game.

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