Zias drop pair in St. Mary’s tourney

CNJ staff

SAN ANTONIO — St. Mary’s scored three early runs and the Rattlers made them stand up for a 3-1 victory over Eastern New Mexico University on Saturday in the Rattler Invitational softball tournament.

ENMU (6-9), which dropped an 8-5 decision to Oklahoma Christian earlier on Saturday, faces Central Oklahoma at 9 a.m. today to complete its five-game schedule in the three-day event.

Junior left-hander Vanessa Ramirez threw a complete game in the loss, allowing eight hits. The Zias got on the board in the fourth inning when senior first baseman Erica Armendarez led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch, took third on freshman Cailin Garmon’s bunt single and scored on a two-out single by junior Jackie Candelaria.

The Zias compiled eight hits off Maricela Bissaro (2-0) and reliever Vianna Gutierrez, who earned her first save with three scoreless innings. But they stranded eight baserunners.

St. Mary’s (16-3) jumped ahead in the first on a one-out, two-run single to center by designated player Laura Benevidez, then added an insurance run in the second on a one-out, run-scoring double to left-center by center fielder Katie Nichols.

Candelaria went 3-for-4 for the Zias. Meantime, Nichols, Nicole Sardelich and Amanda Villa each had two hits for the Rattlers.

Oklahoma Christian 8, ENMU 5 — The Zias erased an early 5-0 deficit, scoring four times on just two hits in the bottom of the fifth to tie the score in a rally highlighted by a two-run double from sophomore catcher Kyra Sirag.

The Lady Eagles (5-5) responded with a three-run sixth, taking the lead on an error and adding runs on a double by Martha Thomas and a sacrifice fly by Kala Ratliff.

Garmon (3-5), who took over for starter Mary Jo Granger in the Lady Eagles’ three-run third, blanked OCU until running into trouble in the sixth. Freshman Shea Coats (3-2), who picked up a save on Friday against ENMU, earned the win in this one with 2 1/3 shutout innings in relief, allowing one hit and striking out five.

OCU got hits from nine players and outhit the Zias 11-9. Sirag and freshman Aubrey Velasquez each had a pair of hits for the Zias.