LAS VEGAS, N.M.—For the third straight week the Adams State University softball team was on the road for Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action. On Saturday, the Grizzlies dropped a heartbreaking walk-off game in the opener, 2-1, before rebounding with a 6-run fifth inning in an 11-6 win in the second game to salvage split with the New Mexico Highlands University Cowgirls.
Sunday was not as kind to the ASU softball team as they dropped both games in the second day doubleheader by scores of 7-2 and 11-10. The second game was a 10-inning thriller that saw ASU ride a roller coaster of emotions.
Sunday's losses dropped Adams State to 7-19 overall and 6-10 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The Grizzlies, who are now sitting in ninth in the RMAC standings with a tie with the Cowgirls, return back home on Saturday for a four-game series when they host the Fort Lewis Skyhawks. The Skyhawks will enter with a 3-22 overall record and 2-14 RMAC record. They are in 11th place in the standings. Saturday's doubleheader is set for 12 p.m. while Sunday's is set to start at 11 a.m.
In the opener, the Grizzlies and Cowgirls where locked in a pitcher’s dual as senior pitchers Madison Davis and Lauren Murphy kept their opponents at bay.
The first run that came across the plate came in the bottom of the third inning as senior Jamiee Weatherbee led off the inning with a triple before a sacrifice by Chrian Bobian allowed Weatherbee to score.
The outcome of the game looked bleak for the Grizzlies; however, in the top of the seventh inning they were able to pull even. The inning started with a single by senior Marissa Harmon before Sheridan VanHoose, who came in and pitch ran for Harmon, scurried to second on a wild pitch. The Grizzlies then had runners on the corners with an error on a bunt attempt by Garbielle Griego that allowed VanHoose to make it safely to first. VanHoose scored the run when Makenzie Villarreal singled through the left side.
The Grizzlies looked like they would have enough to blow the game wide open as Kaesha Harper walked to load the bases with no outs. Unfortunately, a foul out, a strikeout looking and a fielder’s choice ended the inning.
Bobian got the Cowgirls going with a single in the bottom of the inning before Breanna Cabrera came up big for the Cowgirls as she slapped a single up center field, allowing Bobian to score the game winning run.
In the game, the Grizzlies had eight hits with one walk and only one strikeout while Murphy fell to 4-8 on the season despite a 12-strikeout performance in which she allowed nine hits.
In the second game, the Grizzlies scored two runs off of three hits in the top of the first. They scored the first run on a double steal that allowed Tyler Hays to score before Villarreal doubled to centerfield to score Kalin Johnson.
The Grizzlies were able to get another run in the top of the second when Hays doubled to right center to score Paige Reichmuth.
The Cowgirls took the goose egg off the scoreboard when Jade Callister smacked the double that got Victoria Gonzales home. Weatherbee took advantage of a Grizzly error as she reached, allowing Callister to score, cutting ASU’s lead down to one.
After a scoreless third inning, the Grizzlies pushed two more runs across in the top of the fourth on Hays’ hot bat as she hit a 2-run jack to left field for her third and fourth RBI of the game to extend the lead to 5-2.
The Cowgirls then had what they thought was a demoralizing run in the fourth inning as they scored four runs to capture a 6-5 lead.
That was not the case, as Griego saw a moneyball come from the circle and she drove it over the left center wall for a 3-run home run to score VanHoose and Morgan Zanski. Hays earned another RBI, her game-leading fifth, on a single to center field to score Hannah Wirtjes before Johnson had a 2-run single to left center to score Hays and Reichmuth.
Callister led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a single, but the Cowgirls were not able to mount a comeback as they fell, 6-11.
Adams State had 15 hits in the game with two walks with just three strikeouts while Murphy earned the win in the circle. Whitney Fields started the game for the Grizzlies and between her and Murphy they surrendered 11 hits and five walks while earning three strikeouts.
In the first game on Sunday, Adams State jumped out to an early lead as senior Marissa Harmon hit into a fielder's choice to score Tyler Hays, who had gotten on base with a hit.
Despite allowing a hit in the bottom of the first inning, the Cowgirls did not come back until the bottom of the second when freshmen Leah Osborn broke the ice for the Cowgirls as she crushed a solo homer to left field and even the score at 1-1.
Tyler Hays did her best impression of the home run with one of her own in the top of the third to center field. The 2-1 lead was the last that ASU would enjoy as they surrendered a run in the bottom of the third and four in the fifth. The fifth inning was buoyed by a 3-run home run for senior Victoria Gonzales to make the score 6-2. The game was sealed with a solo run in the bottom of the sixth.
In the game, ASU rattled off seven hits and one walk while striking out just three times.
Whitney Fields and Taylor Roberts were the pitchers in the circle and between the two, they gave up 10 base hits and had five strikeouts.
The second game saw the Grizzlies blow a 3-run lead and then they saw their comeback attempt fall just short.
ASU jumped on the scoreboard first when Kalin Johnson singled to left center to score Hays. Senior Jamie Weatherbee opened the bottom of the inning with a double before she knotted up the game at 1-1.
A single in the bottom of the second made the score 2-1 before ASU found a rhythm in the top of the third as they reeled off four runs. All the home runs came off the bat of Mackenzie Villarreal, who hit her first Grizzly grand slam to score April Riggins, Harmon and Gabrielle Griego.
The Cowgirls buckled down in the fourth inning however as they answered back with six runs of their own including a double and a triple.
Roberts had an RBI in the top of the fifth inning before two more Cowgirl runs crossed the plate in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 10-6.
The Grizzlies tied up the game with a four-run seventh inning including RBI's from Hays, Johnson, Harmon and Cheyenne Hamilton.
The Grizzlies sat the Cowgirls down in order in the bottom of the seventh inning to force extra innings.
In the top of the eight, Adams State loaded the bases with one out; however a double play to third base ended the threat. The Grizzlies didn't bend though as they once again had defensive flexibility and sat NMHU down in order.
The ninth inning would be the doom for the Grizzlies as they went down in order and had two quick outs in the bottom of the ninth before the wheels came off.
With two outs and two runners on base, including the winning run on third, Bates slapped a single to left field, giving Moya the green light to score.
The Grizzlies had 17 hits in the game and drew six bases on balls while just striking out twice.
Lauren Murphy and Madison Vrabel were the pitchers for the Grizzlies and they finished by allowing 14 hits and two walks and two strikeouts.
Despite the Grizzlies dropping three of the four games, they were led by Tyler Hays. Hays started the weekend going 0-for-4 but in the final three games she was an astounding 11-of-14 (.786) at the plate. She finished the weekend 11-of-18 (.611). Of those 11 hits, five were extra base hits including two home runs. She had six RBI and scored seven runs. She drew one walk and had contact in all 18 of her plate appearances as she did not strikeout once.
She currently leads the conference in batting by two points with a .517 batting average; leads the hits category by three with 46.