TexAnns rough up Zias

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks ENMU’s Laura Thompson is tagged out by Tarleton State catcher April Gonzalez as she tries to score on an infield grounder during the first game of Friday’s Lone Star Conference South Division doubleheader at Zia Softball Field.

By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer

PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico University’s softball team couldn’t keep Tarleton State in the yard on Friday.

The TexAnns, who came in averaging a modest four runs a game, belted
six home runs and posted two of their top three run totals this season
in rolling to a 12-5, 9-0 Lone Star Conference South Division sweep at
Zia Softball Field.

The teams complete their series with a 1 p.m. single game today.

Junior third baseman Brittany Terry homered three times for the
TexAnns (19-15, 4-4 South), whose only previous game with more than
eight runs came in a 12-6 shellacking of top-ranked Angelo State on
March 6.

Sophomore right-hander Lauren Zearfoss (11-10) pitched a two-hitter
for her third shutout of the season in the nightcap, shortened to six
innings by the eight-run rule.

Meantime, the shellshocked Zias (17-15, 2-9) fell deeper into the division cellar.

“The wind was blowing out, our pitchers didn’t throw well and we
didn’t hit at all in the second game,” Zias coach Amber Daniel said.
“We have to outhit everybody this year, and we knew that (going in).”

Terry put Tarleton State in front with a two-run shot in the second
inning of the opener, but the Zias took a 3-2 lead with a three-run
third capped by Kimberly Crouse’s second homer of the season.

ENMU nearly got out of the fourth, but Tarleton’s Samantha Canfield
legged out an infield squibber to put runners at the corners with two
out. Catcher April Gonzalez followed with a three-run homer to left off
junior Kristen Cruickshank (9-7) for a 5-3 Tarleton lead.

The TexAnns added seven runs on five hits in the top of the sixth to
blow it open. ENMU avoided the eight-run rule with two in the bottom
half, but that was it.

Junior Julie Norris (8-3) went the distance for the win, spacing 10 hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

“Kristen’s stuff wasn’t working as well today as usual,” Daniel
said. “It’s the Lone Star, and that’s what happens when you don’t
compete as well as you need to.”

Terry and first baseman Tamra Bradley each homered twice in the
second game. Norris had a two-run single to cap a three-run second, and
Tarleton’s other runs all came on the homers.

“They’ve always been the best-hitting team in the conference, and I
still think they are,” TexAnns coach Julie Mata said of the Zias. “I
think we just got lucky on a few today, and our pitchers did a good job.

“Our (hitting) stats are a little deceptive. Errors have been a little bit of our downfall, but today we did a better job.”

Zearfoss issued four walks, working around two of them in the first
inning. She allowed only an infield single by Rebecca Quinones in the
fourth and a two-out, pinch-hit single by Amanda Terry in the sixth.