LUBBOCK, Texas (April 1, 2014) – The number one team in NCAA Division II softball, West Texas A&M, came away with two wins against Lubbock Christian in a close 4-2 game one battle but were able to outscore the Lady Chaps 12-2 in game two at PlainsCapital Park on Tuesday.
The Lady Buffs, members of the Lone Star Conference, came into the contest with just four losses on the season compared to six from the Heartland Conference member Lady Chaps. Prior to today’s games, the Lady Buffs led NCAA Division II with a .619 slugging percentage, were fourth in doubles (2.10), fifth in homeruns per game (1.48) and sixth in scoring (7.84). Because of LCU’s provisional status within the NCAA, the Lady Chaps’ statistics do not technically count, but Lubbock Christian would actually rank ahead of WTAMU in slugging percentage (.696), homeruns per game (1.84) and scoring (8.18).
Lady Buff Mallory Wyatt tallied the first score of the day on a home run to right field off of Katera Eltsosie while the next run was not recorded until the fifth inning, again by West Texas A&M. Lacey Taylor started the frame off with a hard single up the middle, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brittany Gehle and again to third on a wild pitch. A dropped ball by second baseman Diana De La Paz gave Taylor enough time to make it across the plate for a 2-0 Lady Buff advantage.
WTAMU (33-4, 12-4 Lone Star) strung together three hits to begin the sixth inning, beginning with a single by Jessica Sipe that tipped of the gloves of Eltsosie and De La Paz, followed by a double from Kaisha Dacosin and a single by Allie Cranfill that scored Sipe and Dacosin to double the Lady Buff to 4-0.
The Lady Chaps (32-8, 11-4 Heartland) staged a comeback in the bottom of the sixth on a Megan Sullivan double up the middle, and Jessica Loiacano blasted a homer over the centerfield fence to slice WTAMU’s lead to 4-2. Neither team was able to add any runs the rest of the way, preserving the victory for the Lady Buffs.
Rita Hokianga (15-2) chalked up the win with four hits, three walks and nine strikeouts, while Eltsosie (16-4) took the loss with seven hits, three balls and eight strikeouts.
Game two was controlled by the Lady Buffs, as Sipe connected on an Abbi White pitch that was sent over the right center fence to put WTAMU up 2-0 in the top of the first. Eltsosie answered for the Lady Chaps in the next frame with a homerun to left field to cut into the Lady Buff lead, 2-1.
Sipe connected again in the third inning, this time sending the ball over left center for another pair of WTAMU runs. After a walk to Dacosin and Cranfill being hit by a pitch, Lauren Hardin was sent in to relieve White, but she also had trouble against the powerful bats of the Lady Buffs, giving up a three-run homer to Lacey Taylor to put WTAMU in control with a 7-1 lead.
The Lady Chaps gave up another five-run inning in the fourth with defensive struggles that included a fielding error and a wild pitch that enabled the Lady Buffs to extend the lead to 12-1. Morgan Colburn gave LCU another run with a homer to left field, but the Lady Chaps were held scoreless the rest of the inning, resulting a shortened five-inning contest.
Hannah Newcomb (12-2) registered the win with six hits, a walk and a strikeout, while White (9-2) was charged with the loss with four hits and three walks.
The Lady Chaps jump back into Heartland Conference action by hosting Texas A&M International on Friday in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. followed by two games on Saturday starting at 11 a.m., with the fourth game of the series counting as a non-conference contest.