WICHITA FALLS, Texas — The Eastern New Mexico University softball team is still 0-fer for the season, but at least the Zias worked up their offense on Saturday — especially Taylor Howard.
The senior first baseman from Midland, Texas, went 6-for-8 in two games, including a 4-for-4 performance with two homers and five RBIs against Drury, but the Zias (0-8) still fell twice — 8-4 to Missouri Southern and 9-7 to the Lady Panthers in the Midwestern State Invitational.
Big innings continued to be a downfall for ENMU. After the Zias gave up a seven-run inning to each of its two opponents in shutout losses on Friday, Missouri Southern took the lead with a six-run third while Drury posted a five-spot to go in front for good in the latter contest.
Trailing 1-0, Missouri Southern (2-1) erupted in the third as first baseman Megan Roark capped the rally with a three-run homer. ENMU countered with three in the bottom of the fifth, but Southern added two unearned runs in the seventh off reliever Amanda Lale.
Howard went 2-for-4 in that game, including an RBI single. Against Drury (1-2), she had an RBI single to center in the first, a solo homer to left-center in the third, a run-scoring single in the fifth and a two-run homer in the seventh.
Drury’s big third erased a 3-2 deficit, keyed by Denise Taylor’s two-run double. Tessa Fioritti hit an RBI triple and scored on Howard’s single in the fifth, but the Lady Panthers got those runs back n the bottom of the inning.
ENMU outhit Drury 10-8, the first time this season the Zias have done that. The top three hitters in the order went a combined 8-for-12, with Fiorriti and shortstop Paige Colburn both going 2-for-4 ahead of Taylor.
Howard, who also homered twice in a 6-4 loss to Texas A&M-Kingsville two weeks ago, raised her average for the season to .480 (12-of-25). She and junior Kate Medrano (seven) have accounted for more than half of the Zias’ 34 hits and all six home runs through eight games