New records set in offensive explosion

Lions set to host first place showdown this weekend

BJ Laudermilk, Sports Editor

Kinsie Hebler (43) had 19 runs batted in for the series as the Lions swept Western New Mexico. East Texan Photo | BJ Laudermilk

BJ Laudermilk | Sports Editor

The No. 7 A&M-Commerce Lions softball team dominated offensively last weekend in a three-game sweep at Western New Mexico, setting new offensive records in the series and dropping the Mustangs to 4-38 (2-22 LSC) on the season.

Game one saw the Lions break six single-game records in a 22-3 blowout, the game ending via the run-rule in the fifth inning. The game was scoreless through two innings before the Lions piled on. They scored four in the third inning, highlighted by a three-run homer from Kinsie Hebler. In the fourth, the Lions would add on six more, as Mariah Jameyson and Bri Sims hit back-to-back homeruns to account for four of the six runs. Western New Mexico put three on the board in the bottom of the fourth to try to stop the bleeding, but the Lions added 12 runs in the fifth inning. Hebler hit another three-run homer, Kimber Neal had a three-run shot, Sims added a two-run dinger, and pinch hitters Vanessa Muro and Precious Thompson all went deep to cap off the scoring for the game. Hebler had four hits and seven RBIs in the game, and Emily Otto picked up the win to improve her record to 14-3 on the season. The Lions set new records as a team for most runs in an inning and in a game, most homeruns in an inning and in a game, most RBIs and most total bases in a game.

The Lions kept the offense flowing in game two, winning again via the run rule in five innings 18-4. A&M-Commerce led 1-0 after the first inning before pouring things on in the second, matching their run total from the fifth inning of game one by scoring 12 runs. Jodie Hill led off the inning with a solo homerun, Kayla Kilcrease had a solo homerun, two-run shots from Hebler and Sims and a three-run triple by Baylea Higgs were the highlights of the scoring. Hebler had another two-run shot in the fourth, her fourth homer of the series, and her fourth hit in the game, putting the Lions ahead by 17. Hebler had six RBIs in the game, while Higgs added five more on her three hits, helping starter Lacie Bullard pick up her second win of the season in her first start in two months.

It took all seven innings instead of five, but the Lions finished off the sweep in game three by a score of 18-3, outscoring the Mustangs 58-10 in the series. The Lions started things off by scoring seven in the second inning, highlighted by Hebler’s grand slam, her fifth homer of the series. Kilcrease added a two-run shot in the third that made it 9-0. Western New Mexico kept the game alive by scoring two in the fourth and keeping the Lions off the board in the fifth. The Lions and Mustangs traded runs in the sixth, avoiding the run-rule, before the Lions piled on in the seventh. Kilcrease led off with her second homer of the game, this one a solo shot, making it 11-3. The Lions would load the bases and Jameyson would crush a grand slam, the Lions second of the day, before Allie Thompson would cap off the scoring with her first collegiate homer, a two-run shot. Bullard would earn another win, moving to 3-0 on the year by pitching five innings and striking out five.

Hebler finished the series with 11 hits in 14 at-bats, crushing five homers and driving in 19 RBIs. The Lions hit 18 homeruns as a team in the series, terrorizing the Mustangs pitching to the tune of 46 earned runs given up by Western New Mexico, good enough for an ERA of 18.94 as a team.

With the sweep, the now No. 14 Lions improved to 35-5 on the season, and set a new record as a team for conference wins in a season, improving to 20-4 in the LSC, tied for first place in the conference with No. 6 Angelo State. The two teams will meet in a first-place showdown this weekend at the John Cain Family Softball Complex. It is the last series at home for the Lions in the regular season, and it will have conference championship and regional ranking implications on the line. The initial regional rankings had Angelo State as the third seed and the Lions in fourth, both behind No. 1 Colorado Mesa and second seed West Texas A&M. The series starts with a doubleheader on “Alumni Night,” Friday at 4 p.m. and then the two teams finish it off Saturday at 1 p.m. Saturday’s game will honor the senior class on Senior Day, and with it also being Dollar Day, fans are once again encouraged to “Pack the Park” as the Lions continue their best season in program history with national aspirations on the line.