Eric R. Flores
The Paw Print
The Western New Mexico University Mustangs used big innings to sweep the Adams State College Grizzlies in a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference doubleheader, 5-2 and 15-11 in a nine-inning back-and-forth affair, on Sunday here at the new all-turf ASC Softball field.
The Grizzlies used a timely grand slam from freshman Tayler Else to slip by the Mustangs 4-2 in game one Saturday’s doubleheader before senior Jaycee Lovato hit two homers while freshman Stephanie Dunham then had one of her own to get an 11-7 win in game two to complete the sweep.
The Grizzlies (10-7, 4-4 RMAC) and Mustangs (7-14, 3-3 RMAC) tangled in what was a defensive battle in the first game as each pitcher did not allow a run to cross the plate until the sixth inning.
The Mustangs got on the board first when they were able to string three hits in a row including a triple to score the runs.
The Grizzlies bounced right back in the bottom half of the inning when Lovato drew a walk after eight pitches. Redshirt freshman Kristen Payne than nailed a ground rule double to deep center field before Dunham drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. Junior Lizzy Schossow could not connect on three swipes at the ball and got the first out.
Else then approached the plate and on the 1-1 pitch was able to surprise everyone as she hit a sinking line drive homer to centerfield for the grand slam. Sophomore Katelyn Lovato tried to keep the rally going when she got a single and a stole second base, however, a hard line drive was caught by the left fielder to close the inning.
Lindquist then allowed the Mustangs to scare her as she put runners in base but was able to get out of the jam with three ground balls to end the game.
Lindquist allowed two runs on six hits and one walk whole she struck out seven batters in her seven-inning complete game.
She is now just five games away from tying the Adams State Division II era (1993-present) career record for complete games and wins as she has 51 complete games and 41 wins. Former Grizzly pitcher Megan Roberts holds both those records with 56 and 41, respectively.
Game two was the complete opposite for the Mustang defense. The Grizzly defense started off on the right foot as they got a 1-2-3 inning behind freshman pitcher Taylor Johnson.
After a Katelyn Lovato single to third base and a steal, sophomore Alexis Gallego moved her over to third with a sacrifice bunt before junior Rebecca Lindquist hit a double to right center to get the run in. Jaycee Lovato got back into her power swinging in the next at bat as she nailed a 3-2 pitch down the left field line for a two run homer.
The Grizzly defense then made another 1-2-3 stand in the top of the second inning before Dunham nailed a two-run home run in the bottom of the frame to increase ASC’s lead to 5-0.
After setting the Mustang’s in order in the third inning, the Grizzlies ran into a buzz saw in the fourth.
Six runs came across the plate after five hits and three errors were tallied giving the Mustangs a 6-5 lead. After a solo homer by Mustang Kaitlynn Barnes, WNMU held a 7-5 lead going into the bottom half of the fifth inning.
In the fifth inning, the Grizzlies had runners on second and third base with no outs, however, some bad breaks for the Grizzlies had them sitting on second and third with two outs soon after. Sophomore catcher DJ Consonero then drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Freshman Carly DeLorenzo than capitalized on the opportunity as she hit her second triple of the day just inside the left field line and then came home on the ensuing pitch, which was ruled as an illegal pitch.
After trailing by six to open up the second game that was filled with fireworks from the beginning, the Grizzlies were able to rally and take the second game to extra frames, only for their happy ending to be spoiled by a 4-run ninth inning.
The Mustangs came out and attacked pitches from Johnson and scored six runs to open the game. Western New Mexico also made use of the large outfield as they had a double two triples, a home run and two singles to get the runs.
Adams State used speed in the bottom of the frame to get two runs across the plate. Katelyn Lovato opened up the inning with a slap bunt single to the pitcher before Tarah Campagnola hit a double down the right field line. Junior Rebecca Lindquist tallied an RBI groundout to the second base allowing the speedy Lovato to score before redshirt Payne singled up the middle allowing Campagnola to come around.
The Mustangs then used a sacrifice fly and a solo homer to get the two runs back and extend their lead back to six at 8-2 headed into the bottom half of the second inning.
Adams State came within one run in the bottom of the inning when they scored five runs including three on a home run from Jaycee Lovato her eighth of the season. A throwing error before that had allowed the wheels of DeLorenzo and Katelyn Lovato to score.
Both teams took a break on the scoring in the third and fourth innings as senior Rachel Lovato came on in relief to record some strong pitching.
Jaycee Lovato started off the fifth inning with her first triple down the right field line before Payne drew a walk. Else then gave Adams State their first lead of the game as she nailed a 2-1 pitch to right field for her third home run of the season.
With Adams State up 10-8, the Mustangs were able to uses singles, to have a 2-out rally and score three runs and take an 11-10 lead. The lead did not last long as Archambault hit an RBI single up the middle to score pinch runner Melinda Velasquez and tie the game up at 11.
No runs were scored in the seventh inning allowing the Grizzlies to play in their first extra innings game of the season.
Sarah Lindquist, who came into the game in the sixth inning, had a stellar eighth inning as she struck out the first two batters and got a groundout for the third out.
The eighth inning appeared to be a perfectly set up for a two-out rally for the Grizzlies as Jaycee Lovato doubled to right field while Payne was intentionally walked and Archambault drew a walk to load thebases. With the game being so close, tensions were high and Else was up to bat. After making it to a 1-2 count, Else and the Grizzly team and crowd was shocked when a ball that appeared to be low and outside was called strike three to end the inning.
The Mustangs used the momentum to their advantage as they scored four runs in the top half of the inning to get the 15-11 victory.
Like Saturday’s first game, the neither team was able to get much going through the first three and a half innings as Lindquist was working a no-hitter through four innings.
Adams State struck first in the bottom half of the fourth inning when Jaycee Lovato came up to bat with the bases loaded. After a 7-pitch at bat, Lovato was able to nail the 3-2 pitch down the right field line to bring in her younger sister, Katelyn Lovato, and Campagnola around to score, putting the Grizzlies up 2-0.
The Mustangs retaliated with a huge inning as they posted five runs on five hits and one error. A lead-off double followed by a single and small ball allowed the Mustangs to keep the inning alive.
In the bottom half of the fifth inning, Katelyn Lovato was able to single to left field and pick up an RBI after DeLorenzo reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second base and then made it to third on a bad throw to second base.
However, the Grizzlies could not scratch out any more runs and fell, 5-3.
Sarah Lindquist, who was unbeaten before Sunday, was charged with the two losses as she allowed nine runs on 10 hits and eight walks while striking out nine on the day. She now has an 8-2 record and is still just five wins away from the ASC career record for wins in a career.
Katelyn Lovato, who had four stolen bases on the day, has as many stolen bases as she did in 38 games last year and is now tied for fifth place on the ASC season record chart.
Jaycee Lovato’s homer in the second game moved her from a tie with Rebecca Lindquist to a tie for fifth place on ASC’s career charts with 22 home runs in a career.
Next week the Grizzlies will be in Las Vegas, N.M., to take on the New Mexico Highlands Cowgirls (4-13, 1-7 RMAC). First pitch for Saturday’s doubleheader is scheduled for 12 p.m.