Zias blank Kingsville, gain split of twin bill

CNJ staff

PORTALES — Kristen Cruickshank’s 10th homer of the season, a walkoff grand slam, gave the Eastern New Mexico University softball team a 10-0 win over 24th-ranked Texas A&M-Kingsville on Friday at Zia Softball Field and a split of their Lone Star Conference doubleheader.

The Javelinas built an 8-1 lead in the opener and held on for a 9-8 victory. The teams complete the three-game series with a 1 p.m. contest today.

ENMU (14-9, 2-3 South) pounded two Kingsville pitchers for 10 hits in the nightcap, including five for extra bases. Cruickshank went 3-for-4 with two doubles and finished with five RBIs.

Junior Kimberly Crouse (6-5) pitched a five-inning, two-hitter, walking none and striking out four. She also went 2-for-2 with a walk at the plate.

In the opener, the Javelinas (15-7, 3-2) chased Cruickshank (7-4) in a four-run fourth inning that included RBI doubles by Cassie Anderson and Yvette Berianga and a run-scoring single by Kaycee Bryan.

The Zias came back for four runs on six hits in the bottom half of the inning off Courtney Rigamonti (12-3), including RBI doubles by Melissa Williams and Laura Thompson. The Javs contributed two errors to the rally.

In the sixth, Quinones pulled the Zias to 9-8 with a one-out, three-run home run to center. Crouse followed with her third triple of the season before Rigamonti struck out Michelle Anderson and pinch-hitter Samantha Davis.

Rigamonti, who walked one and struck out nine, set the Zias down in order in the seventh.

Cassie Anderson went 3-for-4 for Kingsville, while five others contributed two hits apiece. The Zias also had 14 hits, with Quinones, Alex Mayo Otis and Thompson collecting three hits apiece.