Teri LaJeunesse, ECU sports information
The Ada News
The East Central University softball team earned a series split with Southern Arkansas, going 1-1 Saturday against the Lady Muleriders. The Lady Tigers (24-8, 10-4 GAC) fell 6-5 in eight innings in game one and then rallied to earn a 5-3 win.
ECU was led by senior Ali Manship. The Harrah native tallied a .667 average at the plate and picked up a win in the circle. Manship tallied four hits, two runs and four RBIs, with one home run. She also pitched the second game and allowed nine hits, three runs (one earned) and struck out four batters.
Freshman Lauren Reeves hit .571 in the two games against the Lady Muleriders (18-16, 10-8 GAC), with four hits and one RBI.
Sophomore Brianna Nunley suffered the loss in game one, coming in relief and throwing 7.1 innings. Nunley struck out 11 batters and allowed three hits and one unearned run.
The Lady Tigers will now hit the road for the next 10 games, starting Thursday and Friday at Southern Nazarene.
ECU 5, SAU 3
ECU was the first to score in the second game of the day when junior Gina Mengwasser hit her eighth home run of the season over the fence at right center for a 1-0 lead.
The Lady Tigers added four runs in the bottom of the third for a 5-0 advantage. Sophomore Lauren Bancroft started ECU with a single up the middle and was joined on base by freshman Autumn Suydam, who drew a walk. That put runners in place for senior Shelby Simmons, who hit a home run to right field.
Manship then singled on a hard-hit ball back to the pitcher and was sent home with freshman Lauren Reeves, who hit a double to left center.
The Lady Muleriders scored their first run of the game in the fourth and made the game interesting in the seventh with two runs for the 5-3 final.
SAU 6, ECU 5
SAU opened the day by scoring five runs in the top of the first inning for a 5-0 lead.
Both teams then concentrated on defense for the next five innings before ECU cut into the disadvantage.
The Lady Tigers scored three runs in the top of the sixth on a home run by Manship to left field. Mengwasser doubled to left field, and Reeves singled to right field to put two runners on for Manship.
ECU allowed two doubles in the top of the seventh, but their defense held strong and kept SAU from scoring.
The Lady Tigers then came out in the bottom of the seventh and scored two runs to force the game into extra innings. Simmons reached on a fielder’s choice and was joined on base by Reeves, who singled up the middle. Manship then added a single to left field to score the first run of the inning. Sophomore Chelsea Patterson then reached on an error by the second baseman, which allowed Reeves to score to tie the game (5-5).
The Lady Muleriders then came out in the eighth and scored a run on two errors by ECU for the 6-5 lead.
The Lady Tigers had a chance to score in the bottom of the eighth, as Bancroft started the inning by reaching on catcher’s interference. She was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Suydam and to third when Simmons grounded out to the pitcher.
However, Mengwasser popped up to the shortstop for the final out of the game.
Tigers fall to Southern Naz
BETHANY – The East Central University baseball team lost the final game of the three-game series to Southern Nazarene at Cypert Athletic Field, 10-1.
The Tigers (7-22, 1-14 GAC) were led by senior Spencer Penrod, who tallied two hits. Junior Josh Lavender tallied a hit and scored the lone run of the game for ECU.
Senior Hernan Vivas threw the first six innings for the Tigers, allowing 14 hits, eight runs (four earned) and striking out four batters.
The Crimson Storm (11-16, 6-12 GAC) wasted no time getting ahead, scoring four runs in the first and a fifth in the second for a 5-0 lead. SNU added to its advantage, with three runs in the sixth for an 8-0 lead.
The Tigers got their lone run in the top of the seventh to make the score 8-1.
Lavender doubled to right field and was advanced to third when Penrod hit a single to center. Senior Paul Guardado earned the RBI with a sacrifice fly to right field.
The Crimson Storm followed with the final two runs of the game in the bottom of the seventh for the 1-10 win.
ECU will now return home for its next Great American Conference series against Arkansas-Monticello, March 29-30 at Tiger Field. Friday’s game is slated to start at 1 p.m., with Saturday’s double-header scheduled for 1 p.m.