Zias post sweep in home opener

CNJ staff

PORTALES — Junior pitcher-first baseman Kristen Cruickshank belted her seventh homer in seven games as Eastern New Mexico University completed a sweep of Texas-Permian Basin Thursday with a 12-1 rout at Zia Softball Field.

In the first game, the Zias did all their scoring in the second inning, capped by a two-run homer from Alex Mayo Otis, in a 4-0 victory over the winless Falcons (0-11).

ENMU (7-5), playing its first games at home, pounded 16 hits in the nightcap, shortened to 4 1/2 innings by the eight-run rule. Sophomore catcher Samantha Davis went 3-for-3 and drove in five runs with a two-run homer in the first and a three-run shot in the third, her first two long balls of the season.

The Zias erased a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first. Mayo Otis doubled with one out and Cruickshank, whose consecutive-games home run streak ended at five in the opener, followed with her eighth homer of the season, a two-run shot down the left-field line.

After a single to center by Rebecca Quinones, Davis walloped her first homer to left.

The Zias made it 9-1 in the third on Davis’ three-run blast and a two-run double to center by Laura Thompson. They added three more in the fourth off Erica Holingsworth (0-5).

Designated player Amanda Terry of Portales went 3-for-3 and scored twice for the Zias, while Mayo Otis, Quinones and Jessica Pacheco all had two hits. Everyone in the batting order hit safely for ENMU.

Junior Kimberly Crouse (3-3) gave up a run on two hits in the first, but allowed just one more hit after that. She walked one and struck out five.

Cruickshank (4-2) breezed to a four-hit shutout in the opener, walking one and striking out a career-high 12. The strikeouts were the third-most for an ENMU pitcher in the program’s history and the most since Jennifer Harrer whiffed 14 in an NCAA Division II regional tournament win over Mesa State in 2001.

Brittany Regalado got the second-inning rally started with a one-out walk. Nikki Darnell forced Regalado, but shortstop Cara Brydle hit an RBI double to right-center and took third on the throw home.

Thompson followed with a run-scoring single to center before Mayo Otis blasted her third homer of the season to right-center off Jennifer Oso (0-4).

Oso settled down after that, allowing only one more hit over the final four innings.

ENMU hosts Oklahoma Panhandle State today in a doubleheader starting at noon.