Zias wrap up home rampage with doubleheader shutout

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo ENMU junior Jessica Pacheco rounds third base and scores during the first game of the Zias’ doubleheader against Oklahoma Panhandle State on Saturday at Zia Softball Complex.

CNJ staff

PORTALES — The Eastern New Mexico University softball team continued to fatten up at home on Saturday, sweeping a doubleheader from Oklahoma Panhandle State 12-0 and 14-0 at Zia Softball Field to complete a 6-0 homestand.

The Zias (8-3) have now won eight in a row. They won’t be a home again, though, until March 7-8 when they host a three-game set against Lone Star Conference South Division favorite Angelo State.

In sweeps of College of the Southwest, New Mexico Highlands and Panhandle this week, the Zias pounded the ball at a .558 clip with 87 hits, including 10 home runs and 40 extra base hits. They outscored their foes for the week 85-7.

Against Panhandle (1-6), right-hander Kristen Cruickshank (3-1) in the opener and lefty Natalie Woodside (3-2) in the nightcap pitched five-inning, two-hit shutouts, with both games shortened by the eight-run rule.

The Zias broke open the first game with a seven-run fourth, highlighted by sophomore shortstop Casandra McCommons’s two-run homer and a two-run double by left fielder Alex Mayo Otis. Meantime, sophomore first baseman Anna Herskowitz delivered her third home run in three games.

Mayo Otis led a 10-hit attack, going 2-for-3 with a three RBIs.

In the second game, ENMU scored three times in the first, then erupted for 11 more runs in the fourth. Woodside helped her own cause with a two-run homer in the fourth, while catcher Michelle Anderson also had a two-run shot in that inning.

The Zias pounded out 15 hits in the easy win, with second baseman Rebecca Quinones going 3-for-3 and driving in three runs.

ENMU also set a school record with nine stolen bases in the opener, and tied that record in game 2.

The competition should pick up again quickly when the Zias travel to Phoenix for the Division II Leadoff Classic tournament next weekend.