Lions start 6-3 through two tournaments


Photo Courtesy | Joseph Miller

Chelsea Slider running down the line trying to arrive safely at first base

Tyler McDonough, Senior Sports Reporter

By: Tyler McDonough | Senior Sports Reporter

Softball season is among us once again as the No. 10 nationally ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce Lions are 6-3 through two tournaments in the 2020 campaign.

The Lions started the season off hot at the Arkansas Tech Tournament in Conroe, TX on Jan. 31-Feb. 2 going 4-1 behind some strong pitching. 

Game One

 The Lions picked up right where they left off in 2019 in game one with a pair of three-run home runs from Madison Schaefer and Kinsie Hebler as they defeated the No. 7 ranked University of Central Oklahoma Bronchos 10-0 in five innings. Emily Otto also picked up her 16th career shutout, along with her 39th career complete game. 

Game Two/Three

The Lion offense was not as hot in game two versus the Harding Bison, nonetheless A&M-Commerce still picked up a 2-1 victory to improve to 2-0 on the season behind freshman Alyssa LeBlanc who pitched a gem in her first ever collegiate appearance, allowing just one run with five strikeouts in six innings of work. The Lions picked up another shutout win in their next game knocking off Pitt State 4-0 behind another Otto shutout.

Game Four

LeBlanc improved to 2-0 on the season as the Lions knocked off Minnesota-Duluth 2-1 in game four of the season. LeBlanc pitched a strong five and two-thirds innings along with nine strikeouts. The Lion offense got going in the fifth inning when Chelsea Slider doubled and Cally Pausewang reached base on a fielder’s choice error to put both runners in scoring position. Schaefer came up big as she drilled a pitch down the right field line to score both runners and give A&M-Commerce a 2-1 lead. 

LeBlanc’s night was done after giving up two hits in the sixth inning. Otto came in relief and retired the only batter she faced in the sixth. Otto preserved the Lion lead in the seventh to pick up her second save of the tournament and give the Lions the victory. 

Game Five

The Lions dropped their only game of the tournament to defending national champion and No. 1 ranked Augustana 1-0 in the final game of the tournament on Feb 2.  

Augustana scored the only run of the game in the fourth inning with a solo home run. 

A&M-Commerce had its chances late in the game as the Lions had base runners in the sixth and seventh, but could not bring any across. 

Best Western Plus A&M-Commerce Invitational

The Lions headed home to the John Cain Family Softball Complex in Commerce following the Arkansas Tech Tournament on Feb. 7-9 to host the Best Western Plus Invitational. 

The Lions picked up another top-25 victory as they knocked off No. 23 Arkansas Tech 5-1 behind another solid Emily Otto performance. Alyssa LeBlanc and Avery Boley contributed to the cause knocking in four out of the five runs scored to propel the Lions to a victory. 

Sophomore transfer from Ouachita Baptist Laurel Glatch made her first appearance in a Lion uniform in game two versus No. 14 Southern Arkansas, coming in relief after the Lion pitching struggled early on. Glatch only gave up one earned run, however she was given the loss as the Lions fell 6-4 to the Muleriders. 

A&M-Commerce bounded back in game three of the tournament knocking off Arkansas-Monticello 6-5, coming back from an early 4-0 deficit to pick up win number six of the season. Madison Schaefer, Chelsea Slider, and Jodie Hill all knocked in runs late in the game to help the Lions pick up the win. 

The Lions dropped a pitching duel in the final game of the tournament as the Lions fell 2-0 to Rogers State. Head Coach Richie Bruister said after the tournament “Our team is better than what we are showing. But I’m optimistic that we will show up. We have a lot of softball left and I’m looking forward to when we start clicking and play consistently good softball.”

Up Next:

The No. 10 ranked Lions will be back in action this weekend as the travel north to Oklahoma City to play in the Edmond Regional Festival III.