ABILENE - A win is a win. And that's all one could really think to say after watching the Abilene Christian softball team score its game-tying and winning runs on two eighth-inning errors to beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, 7-6, Sunday at Poly Wells Field.
Down to their last out after blowing a 5-0 lead, the Wildcats tied the game at 6-6 when a throw by shortstop Valerie Perez deflected off the glove of her first baseman Cassidy Ivy, and won the game when Perez' second try for the final out hit the dirt, allowing senior Courtney Flanary to score all the way from first base.
The victory gave the Wildcats (15-18, 4-2 SLC) a three-game sweep of the Islanders, which have now lost 10 straight in falling to 7-27 overall and 2-10 against the Southland Conference.
Game three started similar to games one and two with ACU jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the fourth, but Corpus battled all the way back to take the lead as all six of its runs were scored over the final three innings. The Islanders first two runs came in on a two-run home run by Brittney Morse, and then they cut the Wildcats' advantage to one after pinch-hitter J.J. Jackson drove in another pair with a hit off the wall in right-center field.
Luckily for ACU, Jackson was held to a single as on the following play center fielder Madison Buckley caught a sinking line drive and doubled up the Islanders' pinch-hitter at first with a strong, crisp throw from her knees.
But in the seventh inning, still holding onto that 5-4 lead, the Wildcats' defense made two crucial mistakes in allowing Corpus to score the game-tying run.
No. 8 hitter Mickayla Cochran reached on a error to begin the inning and went to second base with one out after Jessica Mendez drew her third walk of the afternoon. Dani Teft then dropped a bunt toward third baseman Courtney Flanary who got the speedy left fielder on a close play at first, but second baseman Ashley Nolan (who was covering first base) held onto the ball as Cochran raced home all the way from second.
Moving into the bottom of seventh, ACU loaded the bases on a single and two walks but came away with nothing after third baseman Lindsey Lyles snared Demi McNulty's line drive right over the top of the bag.
Corpus then took its first and only lead of the weekend in the eighth. Perez doubled off reliever Hannah Null (9-6) to begin the inning and scored two batters later on Jackson's single through the left side.
ACU's crazy eighth started with a routine ground out to second base, but with one gone, freshman Taylor Brown beat out an infield single to second for her third hit of the day. Lyndi Smith struck out swinging for out No. 2. Flanary and Buckley then reached on the Perez errors.
Junior Emily Seidel was close to unhittable for 5.0 innings today as she struck out six in between three hits, including the two-run shot by Morse that was subsequently followed by an error, wild pitch and base on balls that forced her from the game. Seidel walked Mendez in the first and third, but didn't surrender her first base hit until there was one out in the fourth inning. She went on, however, to strike out the final two batters of that inning and retired the side in order in the fifth.
Null struck out only one batter over the final 2.2 innings for ACU after tossing a complete-game yesterday with 10Ks. She allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk.
Katie Blanar pitched the first 3.0 frames for Corpus and gave up four runs (two earned) on seven hits, including a two-run first-inning single by Ashley Nolan.
Brown singled home McNulty in the second to push ACU's lead out to 3-0, and in the third, Kyla Simmons' smashed a two-out RBI double to left center. McNulty scored her second run of the game in the fourth on a single by Smith against reliever Liz Carter (6-14).
The Wildcats return to action next weekend with a three-game series at Stephen F. Austin.
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