Zias finish softball tourney on roll

Freedom Newspapers

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — It didn’t take the Eastern New Mexico University softball team long to bounce back from an 0-4 start.

The Zias captured two wins on both Saturday and Sunday to pull up to the .500 mark while finishing 4-2 against Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference competition in the South Central Region crossover tournament.

ENMU dropped its first two games in the event on Friday — 8-7 in eight innings to Colorado-Colorado Springs and 2-1 to New Mexico Highlands. But the Zias came back to beat Mesa State 4-3 and Adams State 7-1 on Saturday, and Nebraska-Kearney 10-3 and Fort Lewis 8-0 on Sunday.
First-year ENMU coach Kevin Blaskowski was pleased with how his team bounced back.

“We’re playing very well right now,” he said. “We were able to put some things together. Things we didn’t do well (on Friday) and against Pueblo, we did do well (the final two days).”

Sophomore second baseman Tracy Jordan, who had only a pinch-hitting appearance in Wednesday’s twin bill, ran roughshod through the competition in Las Vegas. She went 8-for-14 with two doubles, two homers (a grand slam and a three-run shot) and 15 runs batted in.

ENMU was close to winning in both games on Friday.

Leading 7-6 in extra innings, the Zias were an out away against CU-Colorado Springs before the Indians’ Kara Rainey hit a two-run single for the win.

Highlands made a two-run sixth stand up in the second game. Jordan’s RBI single halved the margin in the bottom of the frame, but the Cowgirls escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam and held on for the win.

Senior Lauren King pitched complete-game wins against Mesa and Fort Lewis. She threw a five-hit shutout in the latter, called after six innings because of the eight-run rule.

Senior Maegan Rhoten went five innings for the win against Adams State, backed by Jordan’s three-run double and three-run homer, while junior college transfer Chris McGee pitched a seven-hitter against Kearney and benefited from heavy early run support from her teammates.

Blaskowski, whose squad is idle until playing four games against Lone Star Conference North Division foes in this weekend’s LSC First-Pitch Tourney in Irving, Texas, said he’s concerned about the number of runners the Zias have stranded (68) to this point.

“We’re still leaving a lot of runners on base,” he said. “We’re getting some great (scoring) opportunities. But we’re a lot better off now than we were on Wednesday.”