By BRIAN JOHNSON
ECU Sports Information
ADA — East Central University’s softball team, minus two key ingredients to its offensive arsenal, stranded 17 baserunners on the day as it dropped both ends of a Lone Star Conference North home doubleheader to Southwestern Oklahoma State by identical 5-3 scores Saturday at Lady Tiger Field.
Two of the Lady Tigers’ top five top hitters — outfielders Nicole Sanchez and Laura Loughmiller — were unable to play due to injuries sustained during a collision between the two at SWOSU earlier this week in which the two teams split a doubleheader in Weatherford.
It proved to be costly on Saturday as ECU missed Sanchez (who leads the team with a .410 average) and Loughmiller (.318, which is fifth-best on the squad).
The Bulldogs improved to 22-18 on the season and went to 5-9 in the LSC North while ECU dropped to 26-16 and 7-9. SWOSU won three of the four games in the series.
Southwester 5, ECU 3
Bulldog hurler Cassie Chambless (10-9) worked all seven innings for the win as she allowed just two earned runs off eight hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
She out-dueled the Lady Tigers’ Wanda Malone (11-8) as Malone allowed four earned runs off nine hits with one walk and three strikeouts in six-plus innings.
SWOSU broke a 3-all deadlock on Fallon Bradshaw’s RBI single in the sixth and received a Kristina Davis run-scoring single in the seventh to close out the scoring.
ECU took a 3-1 advantage in the third inning when Barber singled and advanced to second off an error on the same play before Emily Kennemer came through with a two-run homer to left-center. It was Kennemer’s fifth round-tripper of the season.
Kennemer, who was 3-for-4 from the plate in the game, also hit an RBI single in the first inning for an unearned score by the Lady Tigers.
Hillary Hughes and Courtney Gaines, who relieved Malone in the circle in the seventh inning, each had a double for ECU.
The Bulldogs tied the game with a pair of runs in the fifth, one of which was unearned due to an error.
Kristyn Shawver went 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI for SWOSU while Tori Joyner and Stacey Creger collected two hits apiece.
Southwester 5, ECU 3
The Bulldogs staged a one-out, four-run rally in the seventh to snatch the victory as pitcher Randee Crockett (11-3) was the tough-luck loser.
Crockett worked 6.1 innings, but was charged with giving up three of the earned runs in the inning as she was relieved by Ellen Estabrooks.
Crockett scattered nine hits and allowed no walks while striking out six as all four of the runs she surrendered were earned.
Jenna Lilley (7-7) got the win for the Bulldogs while Chambless was credited with the save. Lilley gave up only one earned run off five hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Chambless allowed just one hit and fanned one in the seventh.
ECU forged a 1-1 tie in the third when Desireé Nordie doubled home Crockett, who led off the bottom half of the frame with a walk.
The Lady Tigers hiked the lead to 3-1 in the sixth off a Tori Parrish run-scoring single and a Crockett double to right-center.
But the Bulldogs pulled within 3-2 on a Joyner double to right as Bradshaw advanced to third with one out and both SWOSU runners in scoring position. Estabrooks then relieved Crockett and gave up a wild pitch as Bradshaw scored to make it 3-all.
Davis later hit a two-run double in the inning to create the final 5-3 score.
Desireé Nordie and Parrish each went 2-for-3 with an RBI for ECU, but the Lady Tigers stranded nine runners in the game. ECU left two runners on in the seventh.
Audra Chambless went 3-for-3 and scored a run for the Bulldogs while teammates Davis (with two RBIs) and Bradshaw ended up with two hits each.
The Lady Tigers’ next action will be an LSC doubleheader at the University of Central Oklahoma on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in Edmond.