Zias rally for split against Mustangs

CNJ staff

SILVER CITY — Senior Tina Whitt’s second home run of the game, a two-run shot in the top of the seventh, broke a tie and lifted Eastern New Mexico University to an 8-7 win over Western New Mexico on Monday and a split of their softball doubleheader.

In the opener, Western got a two-out, two-run bloop single from designated player Erica Beltran in the last of the seventh to force extra innings, then rode first baseman Tiffany DeVaurs’ two-run homer in the eighth to an 11-9 win over the Zias.

ENMU (10-9) and Western (2-5) close out their four-game series with an 11 a.m. twin bill today.

The Zias, coming off a weekend tournament in Phoenix in which they went 1-4, had an 8-1 lead in the opener after scoring six runs in the third. Western came back with a five-run fourth, but didn’t catch ENMU until Beltran’s tying hit.

“It was a great pitch (by reliever Amanda Nightingale),” Zias coach Armando Quiroz said. “(Beltran) just reached out and dumped it into center field.”

Whitt and Tracy Jordan both went 3-for-5 for the Zias, who outhit Western 15-14.

Whitt then finished off a 6-for-9 day with an RBI double, a solo homer in the fourth and her decisive shot in the seventh in the second game.

“The home runs she hit were crushed,” Quiroz said.

Whitt, normally a catcher, filled in at third base in the nightcap for Brianna Darnell, who broke her nose on a bad-hop grounder in the opener. Quiroz said Darnell will probably be out at least a week.

Senior right-hander Rosemary Moreno (5-3), the first-game starter, picked up the win in the second game with 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Natasha Lindsey. Western pulled to within a run on a two-out RBI double by center fielder Meredith Drahota in the bottom of the seventh, but she was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple to end the game.

“We’re playing pretty decent defense,” said Quiroz, whose team made just one error in Monday’s two games. “We’ve been victimized by I-don’t-know-how-many bloop hits, but hopefully that will turn around for us.”

Quiroz acknowledged that his team, which leaves again on Thursday for the Lone Star Conference’s First-Pitch Tournament in Irving, Texas, is playing a bit tired.

“The girls are playing through a lot of fatigue and a lot of adversity,” he said. “I have to commend them on their heart; these girls don’t give up.”