The UTSA softball team exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and never looked back, taking a doubleheader from Stephen F. Austin, 8-0 and 8-3, Saturday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.
It was a complete team effort Saturday as the bats combined for 16 runs on 24 hits, while the pitching staff allowed just three runs in 13 innings of work.
The Roadrunners launched seven long balls on the afternoon to increase their season total to 46 in 23 games (2.0 per game). Seniors Mel Torres and Amanda Horton went yard twice, while seniors Jessica Els and Stacey Gillespie and junior Stevi Simpson also went deep.
In the circle, Amanda Nikolenko continued her spectacular sophomore season, holding SFA scoreless in six innings in game one. She struck out five and scattered six hits in improving to 9-4 on the year. Junior Ursula Mares moved to 4-4 with the win in game two, striking out nine and walking none.
Game one was a pitching duel until the sixth inning. Gillespie broke the scoreless tie with a solo homer and Simpson followed with her first long ball of the year to make it 2-0. Junior Catherine Garza then tripled to right field and following a walk to freshman Leanne Risberg, scored on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Kim Chavez.
Torres followed with her first round-tripper of the day to plate Risberg. Els hit UTSA’s fourth home run of the frame to make it 6-0. A single by junior Aimee Murray and a pair of errors loaded the bases for Simpson, who drove in a pair to put the run rule into effect.
UTSA wasted little time gaining the lead in game two, plating three runs in the bottom of the first. Torres doubled to left and Els singled to right to start the inning. Horton followed with a three-run blast to give the Roadrunners a 3-0 lead.
Horton singled home Torres, who was hit by a pitch, to make it 4-0 through two.
SFA finally got on the board on an RBI-single to right by Jessica Tullos that scored Benet Higgs.
UTSA answered with two more in the fourth on a fielder’s choice by Els and a double by Murray. Torres and Horton added solo shots in the sixth to make it 8-1.
The Ladyjacks scored two in the seventh on doubles by Tara Hersey and Nicole Carter but Mares got Carrie Woydziak to fly out to left to end the game.
The UTSA softball team blasted six home runs in completing a weekend sweep of Stephen F. Austin with an 11-4 victory Sunday afternoon at Roadrunner Field.
The Roadrunners improve to 16-8 overall and 10-2 in the Southland Conference, pulling into sole possession of second place and setting up a showdown next weekend with rival Texas State (8-1). The Ladyjacks fall to 9-18 and 1-8.
Junior Catherine Garza led the UTSA home run parade with two long balls in going 2-for-3 with three runs batted in. Seniors Amanda Horton and Jessica Els and junior Aimee Murray all had three hits and a round-tripper, while freshman Leanne Risberg also went deep as the Roadrunners now have 52 home runs in 24 games.
SFA jumped on the board first with two runs in the top of the first inning on RBI-singles by Jessica Tullos and Tara Hersey.
UTSA answered in the bottom of the frame with solo bombs by Els and Horton to knot the score at 2-all.
The Roadrunners added to the lead with a three-run second. Junior Stevi Simpson led off with a single through the left side of the infield and scored on a two-run blast by Garza. Risberg followed with a solo shot to make it 5-2.
Senior Stacey Gillespie doubled home Murray and Horton came home on a double play ground ball to make it 7-2 after three.
A two-run homer by Hersey to start the fourth pulled the Ladyjacks to within three runs, but sophomore Amanda Nikolenko came on in relief and held SFA scoreless the rest of the way to improve to 10-4 on the year.
Murray drilled a two-run shot that plated Els to push the lead back to five and Garza, who batted .625 in the series, added her third home run of the season in the fifth to make it 10-4. Els scored on a Gillespie sacrifice fly in the sixth for the final run.
The Roadrunners host Texas State in a huge series between the top two teams in the SLC standings next weekend at Roadrunner Field. First pitch of a Saturday doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, April 1.
€¢UTSA 10-2 in Southland Conference and rests in second place,
€¢The Runners have a tripleheader with Texas State this week, and the winner will control first place because Texas State is currently the conference leader.
€¢Runners pitcher Amanda Nikolenko and hitter Cahterine Garza were named Southland Conference Players of the Week. This is Garza’s first honor of the season and Nikolenko’s third.