ALAMOSA—Five home runs from the Grizzlies helped them open up the home portion of their season with a doubleheader sweep of the Black Hills State University Yellowjackets in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action Sunday. The Grizzlies opened up the day with a 10-1 5-inning win in the first game before taking a 10-2 6-inning affair in the second half.
The two teams then split Monday's doubleheader, both in five innings. The first game was as ugly as the weather as the Grizzlies committed nine errors in a 20-4 loss before rebounding with a 9-0 win.
"Our pitching was good, we only had one walk in two games," said Grizzly Head Coach Dervin Taylor after the sweep. "It really makes a difference when your pitchers are throwing strikes and our bats come alive, we are a very good, very competitive team."
The Grizzlies struck first in the opening game as senior Marissa Harmon nailed a single through the right side to score two as two walks loaded the bases.
The Grizzly bats then got hot as Harmon earned her third and fourth RBI on the day with a huge jack to right center to score Gabrielle Griego. Mackenzie Villarreal made it back-to-back home runs as she hit a solo bomb down the left field line.
Alexandria Quintana closed out the inning with an unearned run to make the score 6-0.
ASU pitcher Whitney Fields allowed her first hit in the fourth inning as a double allowed an unearned run to cross for the Yellowjackets.
The Grizzlies added four runs to their lead as Griego singled up the middle to score Tyler Hays. Riggens closed off the game with a 3-run blast to left field.
Fields was stellar in the circle and won her first game of the season by getting a complete game with 10 strikeouts and allowing the solo run and hit for the unearned run.
In the second game, the Grizzlies struck first as Harmon hit her second home run of the day, another 2-run blast to right field in the bottom of the second.
Kalin Johnson hit a solid double to right to score Jasmine Pemble from second after Pemble caught the YellowJackets napping so she stole second.
A sacrifice run in the top of the third was offset by a 2-run homer from Riggins before Sheridan VanHoose, who was in the game as a pitch runner, scored on a throwing error that allowed Quintana to score.
The Yellowjackets added another run in the top of the fifth but Adams State scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning including RBIs from Griego, Riggins and Harmon.
It was a career day for Harmon who went 4-of-7 with two home runs and 7 RBI while Riggins also had a career day going 3-of-5 with two home runs and 7 RBI.
"We were waiting for their bats to heat up," noted Taylor of Harmon and Riggins. "Harmon and Riggins, they came alive today and they were awesome."
In the opening game on Monday, the Grizzlies allowed BHSU to score three runs in the top of the first inning with two bases loaded before they erupted for 10 runs in the top of the second and took a dominating 13-0 lead.
The Yellowjackets went on to score one run in the third while ASU finally landed on the board scoring four. Jasmine Pemble singled to the pitcher off a bunt but advanced to third on an error. On a ground out to second, Tyler Hays sent Pemble home to get the Grizzlies on the board. The next at-bat, Riggins doubled up the middle to score Griego and Reichmuth to trail 14-3. Marissa Harmon ended the Grizzlies scoring with a double to right field to score Riggins and trail 14-4.
In the final two innings, BHSU closed out the game with two runs in the fourth and four runs in the fifth to claim the victory 20-4. The 20 runs scored by Black Hills State set a new program history record for runs in a single game dating back to 2007.
In the second game, Adams State jumped out to a quick lead as they scored a solo run in the bottom of the first before Hays hit a double up the middle in the second.
In the third, Marissa Harmon earned an RBI before Kaesha Harper hit a 2-RBI double to score Villarreal and VanHoose before another double from Hays scored Harper and Kalin Johnson.
They closed out the game with a 2-run ground-rule double from Johnson.
On the weekend, Harmon led the Grizzlies by hitting .583. She had 7 hits on 12 at bats for 14 total bases including three extra base hits, two of them being home runs. She scored three runs while garnering 9 RBI. Defensively, she helped the Grizzly pitching staff with 21 putouts and two assists as she had zero errors in 23 attempts.
Murphy was the top pitcher as she earned two wins with a 1.27 earned run average. In the two complete game performances, she allowed two runs in 11 innings pitched with 12 strikeouts. She only gave up six hits and had zero walks meaning the opponent batting average was .158. Her second game of the weekend was a shutout as she helped the Grizzlies close out the 3-1 weekend.
The Grizzlies, who are now 4-10 on the season and 3-1 in the RMAC will travel to Colorado Mesa University next week to take on the Mavericks.
Cutline: (Top) Mackenzie Villarreal nails a hard ball during Monday's doubleheader at the ASU softball field. The junior hit her first homer of the season during Sunday's sweep.
(Bottom) ASU senior Marissa Harmon races around second base after her second home run of the day on Sunday. She had a stellar weekend in which she earned nine RBI to help the Grizzlies take 3-of-4 from BHSU.
Photos by Jackson Cole.