WEATHERFORD, Okla. — So far, the Eastern New Mexico University softball team is having a tough time putting pitching and hitting together.
The Zias’ pitching has been solid for the most part through the first eight games, and had carried the team. But over the weekend in the Southwest Shootout, hosted by Southwestern Oklahoma, the hitting picked up but the pitching struggled.
After splitting a pair of games in the event on Friday, the Zias repeated the feat on Saturday, holding off Oklahoma Panhandle State 8-7 before losing to Emporia State 13-5 in a game called after six innings because of the eight-run rule.
On Friday, the Zias lost to Washburn 8-7 while beating Ouachita Baptist 11-5.
First-year Zias coach Kevin Blaskowski said his team competed reasonably well against some solid competition.
“The (weather) conditions were terrible; it was cold and windy,” he said. “I felt like we should’ve gone 3-1. We had a couple of opportunities to put (the Washburn) game away.
“Our pitchers gave up a lot of hits and runs this weekend. Pitching was a strength for us early; we’ve got to get that back.”
Freshman Ashley Maier (1-1) pitched well against Panhandle, working six innings and allowing two runs. The Zias made four errors in that game, giving the Lady Aggies four unearned runs.
“Ashley’s pitching well,” Blaskowski said. “She’s not a power pitcher, but I thought she handled the elements well.”
The Zias collected 15 hits against OPSU, with everyone in the batting order getting at least one hit. Eight players scored one run apiece.
Senior Maegan Rhoten, unable to pitch after suffering a deep bruise when hit by a pitch on Feb. 22 at Western New Mexico, was able to swing a bat and play first base. She went 3-for-4, including a two-run triple that ignited a five-run ENMU fifth.
Tracy Jordan, Stacy Gonzales, Cindy Hess and Katie McDermott all had a pair of hits. Courtney McClasky delivered a two-run single in Eastern’s three-run third, while Jordan, Gonzales, McDermott and Misty Torrez each singled home a run.
Emporia State opened an 11-2 lead with a six-run fifth as the Lady Hornets pounded 14 hits off ENMU’s Lauren King (2-4).
The Zias had eight hits, led by Dani Flores with 3-for-4 and McDermott and Jordan with 2-for-3. Jordan drove in three runs.