Zias gain split with ACU

CNJ staff

ABILENE, Texas — Senior right-hander Kimberly Crouse continued her strong finish to the season Saturday, pitching Eastern New Mexico University past Abilene Christian 3-2 in the opener of a Lone Star Conference softball doubleheader.

The Wildcats won the nightcap 8-0, called in the bottom of the sixth on the eight-run rule. The teams finish their three-game series with a noon (MDT) single game today.

Crouse (6-14) walked one and struck out six, scattering nine ACU hits. Since April 13, Crouse is 4-1 with one save and a 0.99 earned run average over 35 1/3 innings, allowing 29 hits — all but three of them singles — with eight walks and 24 strikeouts.

She blanked the Wildcats (20-28, 4-9 South) over the final five innings. Meantime, Melissa Williams drew a one-out walk in the sixth, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Samantha Davis’ single to left off the Wildcats’ Shelby Hall (10-15).

ENMU (15-34, 2-11) tied the game 1-1 in the second on a two-out RBI single by Kassandra Sanchez, then tied it again in the third when senior second baseman Rebecca Quinones hit a run-scoring single, giving her 143 career RBIs to tie former ENMU standout Rachel Mohler for the school record in that department.

In the second game, ACU scored single runs in the second and third, then broke the game open with a five-run fourth off Zias freshman Amanda Lale (2-7). Left fielder Melissa Mendoza, who doubled home a run in the third, hit a two-run double in the fourth for ACU.

Brittany Rexroat pitched a complete-game three-hitter for the Wildcats — singles in the first by Michelle Anderson and Quinones and a single in the fourth by Lale.