STEPHENVILLE, Texas — The Eastern New Mexico University softball team was off to a strong start in Saturday's Lone Star Conference game against league-leading Tarleton State.
Then, just like that — wham! wham! wham! — their 3-0 lead was gone.
With one on and two out in the bottom of the third inning, Arianna Rodriguez, Katie Welborn and pitcher Samantha Swanda smacked back-to-back-to-back home runs, putting the TexAnns in front. Tarleton took the lead for good with three in the fourth and went on to an 8-5 victory for a sweep of the three-game series.
TSU (28-10, 13-2 LSC) maintained a one-game lead over Angelo State and a 1 1/2-game edge on Texas Woman's in the league race. Meantime, the Zias (7-28, 1-14) lost their 14th in a row in conference play and their 18th in the last 20 overall.
ENMU played the TexAnns tough, though, in two of the three contests, dropping a 2-1 decision in the opener of Friday's doubleheader before losing the nightcap 9-1.
The Zias jumped on Swanda (15-3) with pitcher Amy Smith's squeeze-bunt single in the second and run-scoring singles by Katie Ramsay and Josette Aguirre in the third. They pulled even again in the fourth when freshman shortstop Melissa Reynosa hit her first home run over the left field fence.
A walk and catcher Aurelia Sandoval's three-base throwing error on a bunt by Amber Sotelo gave the TexAnns the lead back in the bottom of the fourth, and Rodriguez followed with her second homer of the game and 14th of the season, a two-run shot, off Smith (3-14).
Down 8-4, the Zias loaded the bases with no one out in the seventh on an error, an infield single and a walk, but managed only one run on a groundout by Savannah Chavez.
Rodriguez went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Welborn and Swanda, who both have 12 home runs, combined to go 5-for-6 with two walks.
For the Zias, eight players combined for nine hits, with Ramsay going 2-for-4.
Lone Star Conference
Tarleton State 8, ENMU 5
ENMU 012 100 1 — 5 9 1
Tarleton St. 004 301 0 — 8 9 2
Amy Smith and Aurelia Sandoval; Samantha Swanda and Amber Sotelo. W — Swanda (15-3). L — Smith (3-14). LOB — Eastern New Mexico 8, Tarleton State 8. 2B — Eastern New Mexico: Melanie Alderette. HR — Eastern New Mexico: Melissa Reynosa (1). Tarleton State: Arianna rodriguez 2 (14), Katie Welborn (12), Swanda (12). T — 2:01. A — 230.