East Central University junior right-hander Wanda Malone allowed just an earned run in 13 innings pitched on Saturday, but nationally third-ranked Midwestern State got just enough hits and took advantage of some Lady Tiger errors in posting a 6-5, 2-1 Lone Star Conference North softball doubleheader sweep at Lady Tiger Field.
Malone did not get the decision in the opener as she relieved starter Courtney Gaines and worked six innings. In the second game, she gave up just an earned run in tossing all seven innings while surrendering just an earned run as her record fell to 11-6 on the season.
She struck out 12 batters, walked none and scattered 11 hits in the combined two games on the day.
ECU, ranked 10th in the latest NCAA Division II South Central Regional Poll, dropped to 25-13 overall and 6-6 in the LSC North with the losses while Midwestern State, No. 1 in the regional poll, improved to 34-6 and 10-2.
Midwestern State 6, ECU 5
The Lady Tigers actually out-hit the Mustangs 9-8, but ECU committed three errors in the contest.
After MSU jumped on Gaines and the Lady Tigers with four runs in the second (one of which was unearned), Malone relieved Gaines after Gaines faced five batters in the second inning.
The rest of the way, Malone allowed just four hits and no walks while striking out five. The two runs scored off her were unearned.
Trailing 4-0, ECU finally got on the board in the fourth on Cassandra Nordie’s sacrifice fly in left-field foul territory, which scored Kasey Barber.
The Mustangs then picked up two unearned runs in the fifth to go up 6-1.
But the Lady Tigers made it interesting with a four-run sixth inning which chased away MSU starter Brittney Tanner. Though Tanner (11-2) got the win, she needed help out of the bullpen from Mustang ace Katie Peterson, who eventually earned the save.
That four-run sixth was triggered by Barber’s leadoff double to left-center. One out later, Cassandra Nordie traded places with her by doubling down the right-field line to make it 6-2.
Nicole Sanchez hit a bases-loaded, two-run single to chase away Tanner. Reliever Petersen then gave up an RBI single by Shelby Simmons to make it 6-5.
However, Petersen registered a strikeout to end the inning.
The Lady Tigers threatened with a two-out walk to Nordie, followed by a Crockett single in the seventh. But a strikeout by Petersen ended the contest.
Barber was 2-for-4 from the plate with her double and two runs scored for ECU and Laura Loughmiller was 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored. Though Sanchez and Nordie each only had one hit, the pair did finish with two runs batted in.
Tanner went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI for the Mustangs and Petersen knocked in two runs with a single in the second inning.
Midwestern State 2, ECU 1
Petersen (17-2) out-dueled Malone as Petersen allowed just five hits and a walk while striking out six.
Malone gave up seven hits and no walks while fanning seven in suffering the tough-luck loss.
Sanchez had two of the five Lady Tiger hits as she went 2-for-3 with a triple and scored the lone run of the game for the hosts. She hit a one-out triple to right field in the third and scored off Shelby Simmons’ RBI groundout.
The Mustangs scored their only earned run of the day off Malone in the first inning as Nicki Duff led off with a triple and ultimately scored on Lauren Craig’s two-out single.
The other MSU came in the fourth as Alyson Reynolds hit a two-out double and scored off an error. Duff went 3-for-4 from the plate with a triple and her scored run.
ECU will try to get back on the winning track Tuesday by paying a visit to Southwestern Oklahoma State University for a 2 p.m. doubleheader in Weatherford. The Lady Tigers then host SWOSU for a 2 p.m. twinbill on Saturday in Ada.