Lions take series against Mustangs


Ryan Scott, Sports Editor

The Texas A&M University – Commerce Lions Softball team got back into their winning ways last weekend, taking three out of four games against the Midwestern State Mustangs by a combined four runs.

Game one of the series did not begin well for the Lions, as they were being no hit by the Mustangs’ Erin Knox until the bottom of the fourth inning. Saddled with a 0-4 deficit, Tyler Oppenheim broke up the no hit bid, and was followed by a home run by December Rivers, cutting the deficit to just two runs with plenty of game remaining.

The teams traded runs in the fifth, and with the Lions still down, they entered the sixth inning looking to get ahead. The Lions had the bases loaded with no outs, but were only able to push a single run across before being set down for the inning.

The Lions were unable to make any noise in the seventh, ending with a 4-5 loss. Aundria Romero was credited with the loss after tossing a complete game, giving up five earned runs on five hits.

Game two was another closely fought battle between the two foes, as both teams were tied at three after the third inning. The pitching clamped down at that point and neither team could break through offensively, with the game needing extra innings to find a victor.

The eighth inning proved to be a dramatic one, after MSU’s Taylor Bermudes reached on an error, and Katelyn Potts ended up on base after what seemed to be a force out of Bermudes was overturned by the umpires after an argument by the Mustangs coaching staff. The Lions were bitten hard by this turn of events, as Knox spanked a home run to give the Mustangs a 3-6 lead going into the bottom of the eighth.

With the game on the line the Lions stepped up to the challenge. After a one out walk by Rivers, a fielder’s choice and a walk by Joanna Sturm, the Lions saw themselves down to the final out with the tying run at the plate. Kylene Hatton would not go down quietly, smashing a 2-2 pitch out of the park for her first home run of the season, tying the game at 6-6.

After a scoreless ninth, the Lions threatened to put the game away in the bottom of the tenth after two walks and a double steal put runners on third and second with one out. The Lions were next gifted a wild pitch that allowed Luci Ponce to score, capturing the first extra inning win in Lions history.

Courtney Moore got the win after pitching all 10 innings, allowing nine hits and six earned runs. She also struck out nine batters.

Day two would not see an end to late game drama. The Lions scored first in game one on home runs by Romero and Sturm, with MSU quickly answering with two runs to tie the game. The Lions jumped ahead again in the bottom of the fourth with the 3-2 lead.

The sixth inning saw the Mustangs attempt a comeback with a leadoff homerun by Katy Vandewater. In the bottom half, after a hit, fielder’s choice, and a walk, Monica Cherry stepped up to the plate to do some damage. The shortstop smacked a base hit up the middle to drive in what would turn out to be the winning run, as the Lions dispatched the Mustangs in the top of the seventh for the 4-3 win.

Cyanne Fernandez picked up the win, with Moore collecting her second save of the year.

Game two of the day saw the Lions jump out to an early 2-0 lead. The Mustangs once again answered with runs in the second and third to tie the game at two.

The game would end up going to the Lions, however, as Cherry would provide the winning offense for the second straight game with a solo home run to put the Lions ahead. After adding another run, the Lions would hold steady for a 4-2 win.

Selena Rima would be credited with the win, going 5 1/3rd innings giving up just two hits and two earned runs. Moore would get the save for the second time on that day.

With the series win, the Lions now own a 23-19 record (12-10 LSC). The fourth place Lions will now head to San Angelo for their final conference series of the regular season.

The Rambelles currently sit behind the Lions at fifth in the conference standings, even with their better overall record of 28-11-1. The Rambelles are also ranked #14 in the country at the time of this writing.

The Rambelles do not feature much power in the lineup, but show a very balanced offense. ASU’s real strength lies in their pitching, which features the likes of freshman Brandy Marlett, who currently leads the LSC with a conference-low E.R.A. of 1.56. Marlett is also tied for the league lead in wins with 16.

After the series in San Angelo, the Lions will go back home for one last double header against Southern Arkansas University, who feature a 21-18 record. The Lady Muleriders feature an impressive offensive combo consisting of Ashton Atwell and Maddie Dow, who both have 13 and 12 home runs, respectively.

The Texas A&M University – Commerce Lions will play the Angelo State Rambelles on Friday, April 17 at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and on Saturday April 18 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. All games will be held in San Angelo, Texas. The Lions will end the regular season with a doubleheader against the Southern Arkansas Lady Muleriders on Tuesday, April 21 at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the John Cain Family Field in Commerce, Texas.