The East Central University softball team split the first two games of a four-game Great American Conference series with Northwestern Oklahoma State at Lady Tiger Field. The Lady Tigers (34-10, 18-6 GAC) first came-from-behind to earn a 4-3 win in eight innings and then fell just short 2-1 in game two.
ECU was led by freshman Jordynn VanPelt, who tallied a .600 average on three hits, a double and home run. Freshman Lacey Paulk earned the win in the circle in game one, allowing seven hits and three runs, while striking out 11 batters.
The teams will continue the series, Saturday, April 13 starting at noon. The Lady Tigers will honor their two seniors (Ali Manship and Shelby Simmons) before the start of Saturday’s game.
Game 1 – ECU 4, Northwestern 3 (8)
ECU opened the scoring in the bottom of the third, taking a 1-0 lead. Sophomore Chelsea Patterson started the inning with a single to short and was advanced to second on a wild pitch. Senior Shelby Simmons earned the RBI with a single up the middle.
The Rangers (15-17, 12-10 GAC) then took a 1-3 advantage in the top of the fourth, scoring three runs.
The Lady Tigers cut the deficit to 2-3 in the bottom of the fifth. Sophomore Lauren Bancroft hit a single up the middle and was sent home when junior Gina Mengwasser doubled down the left field line.
VanPelt tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run to right field.
Both teams held each other scoreless in the seventh to force extra innings. Paulk then struck out the side in the top of the eighth.
The Lady Tigers came out ready to fight in the bottom of the eighth. Mengwasser started the rally with a single to left center. Freshman Autumn Suydam went into run for Mengwasser and stole second. Freshman Lauren Reeves singled up the middle and the winning run was scored when senior Ali Manship singled to left field.
Game 2 – Northwestern 2, ECU 1
ECU came out in the bottom of the first and took a 1-0 advantage. Patterson started the innings with a single to left field and Mengwasser was walked to put a runner in scoring position. Reeves sent home the run with a single through the left side.
Northwestern took the lead in the top of the fourth with two runs (1-2).
The Lady Tigers had a strong chance to score in the bottom of the seventh, with the bases loaded. Patterson started the inning with a single to center field and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Simmons. Mengwasser was intentionally walked and Reeves fouled out to left field for the second out of the innings. Manship loaded the bases with a walk, but freshman Leah Tigert sent a pop-up to short to end the game.