The East Central University softball team picked up two more Great American Conference wins by sweeping Ouachita Baptist in the first of two double-headers at Lady Tiger Field. ECU earned 4-1 and 9-6 wins.
The Lady Tigers (20-6, 6-2 GAC) were led by senior Shelby Simmons, who tallied a .714 average on five hits and one RBI. Freshman Jordynn VanPelt hit .667, with two hits, a home run and two RBIs.
“I am really pleased with our pitchers today,” said head coach Destini Anderson. “In the first game anytime Lacey Paulk got in trouble she got a strikeout when we needed it and kept their batters off balance all day. Brianna Nunley threw a strong second game and Ali Manship came in and got the outs in the end of the game when we needed them. Our bats also came through at the end of the second game, we don’t always have to have big hits, but run scoring hits so we are proud of the girls for coming through.”
The ECU pitching staff combined for a 3.50 ERA, .273 opponent batting average and 18 strikeouts for the day. Freshman Lacey Paulk earned the win in the first game, striking out 11 batters, allowed three hits and one run.
Sophomore Brianna Nunley earned the win in the second game and senior Ali Manship recorded a save. Nunley threw six innings and struck out five batters, while Manship struck out the first two batters she faced.
The two Lady Tiger teams will battle again, Saturday, March 16 in another double-header starting at noon at Lady Tiger Field.
Game 1 – ECU 4, OBU 1
The Lady Tigers came out ready to play right away, scoring a run in the bottom of the first. Freshman Autumn Suydam singled to short, Simmons singled to the pitcher and junior Gina Mengwasser reached on an error to load the bases. That set up sophomore Lauren Bancroft for an RBI with a pop-up to the second baseman.
OBU (9-21, 3-11 GAC) tied the game at one in the top of the fourth, but the Lady Tigers responded with a homerun to left field by Bancroft in the bottom of the fourth for a 2-1 ECU lead.
The Lady Tigers added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth for the final 4-1 score. Sophomore Chelsea Patterson singled the left field and reached third on an error on the play. She was sent home when Suydam singled to left field. Simmons sent Suydam home with a double to center field for the final run of the game.
Game 2 – ECU 9, OBU 6
ECU again came out firing in the bottom of the first with two runs in the second game. Suydam singled to the left side and reached second on a passed ball. She was sent to third when Simmons ground out to first and sent home on a single up the middle by Manship. Sophomore Kayci Snider then singled to second and the bases were loaded when VanPelt drew a walk. Freshman Lauren Reeves earned an RBI when she was walked a batter later.
OBU cut the lead in half (2-1) with a run in the top of the third.
The Lady Tigers went up 5-1 after the fourth. Reeves started with a single up the middle and junior Tarra Underhill reached on an error that put the runners on second and third. Patterson then singled up the middle to score two runs and Manship reached on an error to score the third run of the inning.
OBU added a run in the top of the fifth, but it was countered by a home run by VanPelt in the bottom of the fifth for a 6-2 score.
OBU cut the deficit to two in the top of the sixth with two runs, for a 6-4 advantage for ECU
The Lady Tigers responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Simmons earned a bunt single and Bancroft was walked. Snider then singled to left field to score Simmons, VanPelt singled up the middle to score Bancroft and Reeves singled to right field to score Snider for the 9-4 lead.
OBU added two runs in the top of the seventh (9-6), before Manship came in to pitch. She struck out the next two batters and the final out came on a fly ball to right field.