ADA, OKLA. – The East Central University softball team split a long day of games with Henderson State to earn a split in the Great American Conference series. The Tigers (19-13, 10-10 GAC) first dropped a 5-7 decision in nine innings and then rebounded to claim an 8-7 win in the final game of the series.
ECU was paced by junior Alissa Taylor (Mvskoke Creek Nation) with a .667 average, six hits, two runs, a home run and two RBIs. Freshman Catherine Barrera added a .444 average, four hits, a double and two RBIs.
Freshman Sierra Skaggs picked up the decisions in the circle in both games, coming in a relief pitcher. She threw a total of 5.1 innings, allowed six hits and three runs and struck out one. Senior Kelbie Crelia added 5.2 innings of action, with five strikeouts.
HSU 7, ECU 5 (9)
The opening game of the day was a tight battle that took extra innings to finish. The Reddies (16-15, 10-9 GAC) took the early advantage scoring a run in the first and added two more in the fourth for the 0-3 advantage.
It took until the sixth for the Tigers to get their day going, with a single run. Freshman Jaclyn Willis led off with a walk and, after the first two outs, was sent to third on a single from Barrera. That allowed sophomore Breccia Crawford to earn an RBI when she grounded out to first.
ECU came back in the bottom of the seventh and added two more runs to tie the game and force the extra innings. Redshirt sophomore Aundrea Hamric started things off with a single and sophomore Ellanee Allison and junior Claresha Clemons were walked to load the bases. Sophomore Mariah Ewy then sent a ball down the left field line for a double and two RBIs.
The first extra inning went by without a score, but HSU’s offense turned up in the ninth, scoring four runs on four hits and an error.
The Tigers didn’t go away quietly in the bottom of the inning. Taylor started the inning with a single that was followed by singles from Allison and Ewy to load the bases. Barrera added a single of her own to score a run and leave the bases loaded. Crawford then reached due to an error that scored a run, but that was all ECU could get across the plate, falling 5-7.
ECU 8, HSU 7 (6)
The second game was all Tigers at the start, with ECU taking a 5-1 lead in the first three innings.
The scoring started in the first with a single run on singles from Taylor and Ewy and Clemons and Crawford drawing walks.
The Reddies responded in the top of the second to tie the game at one, but the Tigers countered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning for the 2-1 advantage. Sophomore Caitlin Paolini, Taylor and Allison singled and with the help of a stolen base and an error combined for the run.
The third is when ECU really took control adding three runs for the 5-1 lead. Crawford started the inning with a single to right and was sent to third on a double by Paolini. After the second out was recorded, a throwing error by the HSU catcher allowed the first run to score, while the final two were sent around with a home run from Taylor.
The Reddies continued to fight and tallied two runs in the fourth, but ECU countered with a run of its own for a 6-3 score. Clemons singled and the run was scored on a double by Barrera.
ECU pushed ahead again in the fifth with two more runs and the 8-3 advantage. Paolini drew a lead-off walk, senior Hayley Hyatt reached on a bunt single and Taylor singled to load the bases. That allowed Allison to earn an RBI when she hit into a fielder choice. A walk to Clemons reloaded the bases and Ewy earned the second RBI on a fielder’s choice.
HSU then tried to mount a come-back in the sixth, scoring a four runs on a grand slam to cut the lead to one (8-7).
The teams were then sent to their locker rooms on a lightening delay for almost an hour before resuming play for the final 1.5 innings.
The Tigers were sent back in order in the bottom of the sixth, but thanks to a double-play to end the game did the same to the Reddies for the 8-7 final.