Top-ranked Angelo sweeps Zias

CNJ staff

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Angelo State showed Eastern New Mexico University’s softball team why it is ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division II over the weekend.

Freshman first baseman Sandy James homered in each game, giving her a Lone Star Conference-leading 15 for the season, as the Rambelles (26-3, 5-1 LSC South) handed the Zias 8-1 and 9-3 losses on Sunday.

James, whose 39 hits this season include 25 for extra bases, also homered in Angelo’s 11-2 win on Saturday and is within one of the school’s single-season record of 16, set by Christel Neal in 2005.

The highlight for the Zias (16-13, 2-7) was a two-run homer by shortstop Melissa Williams in the fourth inning of the nightcap, her first of the season, to briefly pull ENMU into a 2-2 tie.

Zias pitcher Kristen Cruickshank (8-6) nearly worked out of a bases-loaded jam that included two bunt singles in the bottom of the inning, but after getting Kristen Frye on a pop-up for the second out she walked No. 9 hitter Nicole Wellman to force in the lead run.

James followed with a two-run double, Laura Lopez added an RBI infield hit and Macy Baker doubled home two more runs to make it 8-2 and chase Cruickshank.

Angelo’s Chelsea Nelson (15-2) worked six innings for the win, allowing five hits and striking out six.

Cruickshank also took the loss in the opener. Trailing 1-0, she struck out James for the second out in the third, but the Rambelles reached her for three runs — two of them unearned — before the side was out.

James led off with a homer in the fifth. ENMU got on the board in the sixth when Rebecca Quinones hit a one-out double, took third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch by Angelo’s April Haywood (10-1), but the Rambelles plated three additional tallies in the bottom of the inning.

The Zias are home for five games this week, beginning with a 1 p.m. twin bill on Wednesday against Texas A&M-International.