Zias rally for split with Highlands

CNJ staff

PORTALES — Junior shortstop Paige Colburn hit a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday, lifting the Eastern New Mexico University softball team past New Mexico Highlands 6-5 for a split of their doubleheader at Zia Field.

Colburn had a bit of a tough day in the field with three errors, but she singled and homered in each game, scoring four runs and driving in four.

In the opener, the Cowgirls (9-36) erased a 5-3 deficit with a four-run sixth, got a grand slam from pitcher Melissa Martinez in the top of the seventh — the third slam against the Zias in two games — and held on for an 11-8 win.

Trailing 5-4, the Zias (12-36) rallied against Ashley Paiz (3-13) after Emily Livingston singled and stole second, Melanie Alderette walked on a 3-2 pitch and Taylor Howard moved them both up with a groundout to first. Colburn hit an 0-2 pitch back through the middle to give the Zias the lead.

Sophomore Brittany Widner (6-8) worked around a leadoff walk in the seventh to nail down the complete game, her sixth of the season.

Colburn tied the game 1-1 with a two-out homer in the first and the Zias added single runs in the second and third. Highlands, helped by two ENMU errors, scored three in the fifth to take the lead before Samantha Emms’ RBI single tied it in the bottom half.

In the opener, Tessa Fiorriti’s two-run double and Emms’ RBI single in the third tied the score 3-3 and the Zias took the lead when Highlands second baseman Kristy Partridge threw wildly on Howard’s bunt single to allow two runs to score.

The Cowgirls came back for a 6-5 lead in the sixth on consecutive doubles by Roxanne Avalos and Alyssa Ramirez and a two-run homer by Shelby Hoffman. Another run scored on a grounder by Alysha Alvarez.

Highlands loaded the bases in the seventh on a single and two walks before Martinez drilled an 0-1 pitch over the right-center field barrier. It turned out she needed those runs when Colburn hit a leadoff homer and catcher Tonya Crockett added a two-run shot in the bottom half, but Martinez got Erin Roufosse to fly out to right to end it with two runners on base.