Softball splits second straight series


Ryan Scott, Sports Editor

The Texas A&M University – Commerce Lions continued a dramatic inaugural season after splitting a four game series in Stephenville.

The Lions came in to the game just ahead of the Tarleton State Texanns in the Lone Star Conference Standings, and held serve after all was said and done, but not without a fair amount of drama to start the series.

Going in to game one with the current LSC hitter-of-the-week Tyler Oppenheim, the Lions looked to get out ahead early. Those plans were foiled when Tarleton took a 0-2 lead after the first inning. The Lions battled back and were able to pull ahead in the third with a 3-2 lead.

Things were looking peachy for the Lions until in the sixth inning, when Katelyn Conlee’s second home run of the game knotted the score at 3-3.

After neither team could pull ahead after the seventh, the game went into extra innings. After a scoreless top of the eighth, the Texanns struck first on a base hit which scored Conlee, who scored all four Tarleton runs.

The second game saw a much higher scoring affair, with Tarleton once again leading the scoring charge by taking an 0-3 lead into the fourth. That’s when the Lions finally struck with a three run inning of their own, once again tying the score at three all.

The tie was short lived as the Texanns scored three more runs in the bottom of the frame. The fifth inning saw the exact same output, as both teams scored three runs in their half inning for the second inning in a row.

It was in the sixth that the Lions finally pulled ahead with a four run effort that featured a bunt single, two singles and a home run by pitcher Aundria Romero to bring the Lions ahead at 10-9.

The excitement for the Lions was short lived however, as the Texanns rallied for the second straight game, scoring two in the seventh off of two singles by Conlee and  Erika Menchaca. Romero ended the day with two losses, with both of them coming as a reliever.

Game two was an especially hard gut-check to Lions, who committed a whopping six errors in the contest, which led to six of Tarleton’s 11 runs being unearned.

The Lions, who were sitting at 18-18 after day one, looked to rebound on day two. Luckily for Lions fans, they did just that. Game one quickly became a slugfest as both teams failed to score in only two of their half innings. After coming out of the first inning behind 3-4, the Lions were shut out in their next two innings as Tarleton expanded their lead to as much as 3-9.

The Lions finally got the jump start they needed with a two run inning in the top of the fourth after a bunt single by Magen Lynch went awry for the Texanns, who committed an error causing both Kylene Hatton on first and Lynch to score.

Romero was called back into action again in relief, and caused some relief for the Lions from the Plate instead of the mound, knocking a two run homer out of the ballpark in the fifth to cut the lead to 7-9.

After a run by the Texanns, the sixth saw the Lions come even closer, as the Lions pulled within one to a score of 9-10. It was in the top of the seventh that the Lions decided to give Tarleton a taste of their own medicine, with a monster six run inning to pull ahead 15-10.

The Lions fans probably got a bit of a scare as Tarleton attempted a comeback, but were stopped short when Lions pitcher Courtney Moore, who started the game, came back in and was able to thwart the comeback attempt and collect the save. Romero ended up credited with the victory.

Game one saw the Lions strike first, and after gaining the lead with a five run fourth inning, they never looked back, ending up with a comfortable 11-6 win. Cyanne Fernandez was impressive in the game, pitching a complete game giving up six runs on eight hits, and striking out seven.

Romero fought valiantly in the series appearing in all four games, she was able to appear for five and a third innings in three pitching appearances, and smashed three homers in four games.

The series brought the Lions to a record of 20-18, with a 9-9 LSC record, currently holding fifth place in the standings.

For their next contest, the Lions will face off against the Midwestern State Mustangs. MSU is currently sitting with a 19-14 record, with a 6-10 LSC record, good enough for seventh in the conference.

Led offensively by Katy Vandewater and Katelyn Vinson who have 9 and 12 home runs, respectively, the Mustangs have had their fair share of success. On the pitcher’s mound, Tayler Jerrick boasts an impressive e.r.a. of 2.33 in 57 innings pitched.

The Texas A&M University – Commerce Lions softball team will play the Midwestern State Mustangs with two games on Friday, April 10 at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and two on Saturday, April 11 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. All games will be played at the John Cain Family Field in Commerce, Texas.