Zias finish above .500 for season

CNJ staff

GOODWELL, Okla. — Junior Kristen Cruickshank had three hits and pitched her third shutout of the season Tuesday as Eastern New Mexico University’s softball team completed a season-ending doubleheader sweep of Oklahoma Panhandle State with a 3-0 win.

The Zias, who stranded 24 runners in the two games, had to go nine innings to take the opener 3-2. The victories lifted ENMU above .500 for the season (24-23).

Cruickshank (11-11) finished with a three-hitter, walking two and striking out two. Two of the hits came in the seventh, but she got OPSU’s Stacia States to ground out to second to end it.

ENMU scored an unearned run in the third on a bases-loaded walk to Kimberly Crouse. Shortstop Melissa Williams led off the sixth with her fourth home run of the season, and Cruickshank singled in the seventh and eventually came home on a Lady Aggies error.

OPSU’s Arlene Soto (5-19) allowed seven hits, walked five and struck out seven.

In the opener, a run-scoring single by ENMU’s Rebecca Quinones tied the game 1-1 in the top of the sixth. Each team scored in the first extra inning, but Cruickshank’s sacrifice fly in the ninth proved to be the difference.

Crouse (12-10) went the distance on a six-hitter, with one walk and one strikeout. Joni Stegman (4-19), whose leadoff homer broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth, allowed 11 hits for the Lady Aggies (9-39), with two walks and three strikeouts.

Alex Mayo Otis went 4-for-5 for the Zias while Quinones, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning, finished 2-for-2.