Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director
McPHERSON, Kan. – The McMurry University softball team swept its Sooner Athletic Conference doubleheader at Central Christian College and, in the process, reached the 20-win plateau for the second-consecutive season. The Aggies (21-15, 12-12 SAC) toppled the host Tigers by scores of 5-0 and 11-4.
In the opening game of the series, junior pitcher Kaylor Battiest was again sterling. Battiest allowed just two hits and struck out 11 Tiger batters. She improved her personal record to 12-7 and also notched her 12th complete game of the year.
Meanwhile, with the bats, Panhandle State banged out nine hits of their own. A trio of Aggies – Jewell Lee, Karah Ortiz and Jena Konieczka – all went 2-for-4 in the contest. Lee slapped a pair of doubles and scored twice. Ortiz drove in two runs.
Game two caused OPSU a few more anxious moments. CCC and Panhandle State were scoreless for the first two frames. However, the Tigers plated a run in the third and three in the fourth off of Aggies’ starter Lindsay Jacobs.
But the Aggies put Jacobs in position for the win by scoring five runs in the top of the fifth. Abby Gregory and Lee opened the inning with back-to-back singles, with Gregory advancing to third. Ortiz was safe on a fielder’s choice, as Gregory scored OPSU’s first run and Lee moved up to second. Both runners moved up on Brittany Thomas’ sacrifice bunt, with Lee scoring on a ground out and Ortiz going to third, making it 2-0.
After a walk to Kayli Grove, Konieczka, Haley Neal and Gregory had back-to-back-to-back RBI singles, as Panhandle State took the 5-4 lead.
OPSU Head Coach Meghan Mulcahy then summoned Battiest into the game to close out the win. Battiest would throw three scoreless innings to earn her SAC – and NAIA – leading seventh save of the season. Battiest had five more strikeouts which, added with four K’s by Jacobs (8-6) gave the Aggies a total of 20 strikeouts in the pair of wins.
Panhandle State’s batters gave Battiest some extra breathing room, thanks largely to Thomas. In the top of the sixth, Thomas cranked an RBI double. Then the Aggies erupted for five more runs in the top of the seventh, highlighted by a grand slam home run from Thomas.
Thomas finished game two by going 3-for-5, with a double and the homer. She amassed five RBI in the game.
Rivera was 2-for-3 with one run batted in. Ortiz was 0-for-3, but had two RBI to her credit and a pair of walks.
The two teams will play a Saturday doubleheader to close the four-game series. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m.