Kaleb Center CSC Sports Information Director
Chadron State College split a home softball doubleheader with New Mexico Highlands University on Saturday, the first day of a two-day, four-game Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference series.
The Cowgirls stole the opener 5-2, thanks to 4 unearned runs in the 7th inning, but the Eagles led from start to finish in game Two, winning 6-2.
CSC appeared to be headed towards a win in the opener, before a late comeback by the visiting team.
The Cowgirls went up 1-0 in the top of the first, on a pair of singles and a sac bunt. Junior third baseman Arianna Ramirez plated their first, and only earned, run on a single to the right center wall, and senior center fielder Camrynn Ziegler scored.
However, the Eagles strung together base hits in the fourth and fifth innings to go up 2-1. The tying run came on an outfield RBI single by freshman first baseman Lauren Zimmerman, immediately following a double by sophomore third baseman Sloane Quijas.
Another double in the fifth, by sophomore pinch hitter Mackenzi Kroll, produced the go-ahead, after junior right fielder Chloe Brown singled and sophomore catcher Samantha Conradie bunted her forward.
The Cowgirls’ leadoff batter, freshman shortstop Dioni Miller, first threatened the Eagless lead with a double to start the inning. She was caught in a rundown, however, on the very next play, when a dropped third strike advanced the next batter to first.
NMHU loaded the bags with another pair of singles, and took advantage of back-to-back fielding errors to score four unearned runs to go up 5-2. The Eagles were unable to get on base in the bottom of the inning, and the score went final.
CSC freshman pitcher Kenzi Garner recorded a career-best six strikeouts, yet fell to 3-7 in a complete game. Highlands ace Nathalie Blattmann picked up the win to improve to 5-8.
The Eagles’ senior pitcher Tia Kohl broke through with her first winning decision in the afternoon game, improving to 1-12 with a season-high 8 punchouts and just 5 hits in 6-plus innings of work.
Three Eagles batters knocked one out of the park as well, producing one run apiece.
Quijas started things off quickly for the Eagles, leading off with a solo shot in the first. Sophomore right fielder Jessie Henchenski then walked and came home later on a single by freshman left fielder Paige Propp to put CSC up 2-0.
Ziegler led off the Cowgirls’ fourth inning with a single, and came home later in the inning on a fielder’s choice for the first NMHU run of the game.
The Eagles answered in the bottom of the inning. Junior second baseman Addison Spears homered to lead off the inning, and she was followed immediately by freshman shortstop Amaya Ruiz, who did the same. Then, after a pitching change was made by Highlands, Brown reached on a single, and a series of wild pitches and walks brought in her and Zimmerman to put CSC ahead 6-1.
NMHU freshman second baseman Mickey Dibley put the game’s only other run across in the seventh inning, with an RBI double.
Ramirez, who started game two in the pitching circle received the loss to fall to 0-9 on the season.
Chadron State is now 5-25 overall, and 4-14 in the conference. NMHU is 6-22 with a league record to match CSC.
Another doubleheader is set for 11 a.m. Sunday.