PHOTO | Daniel Gallegos
The Arkansas Tech softball team took down Southern Nazarene in both games of their doubleheader action on Friday afternoon to begin Great American Conference play with a perfect 2-0 record and earn a win in their first conference series of the season. On the year as a whole, the Golden Suns are 11-6 overall.
The Golden Suns would get right to work on offense scoring their first run of the day in the bottom of the first off a single to the Southern Nazarene shortstop by Lillee Mahan with the bases loaded on two outs to give the Golden Suns the early 1-0 lead.
Bailey Buffington, who earned the start in the circle for game one, came out and recorded three straight outs in the top of the second to silence the Crimson Storm offense and send out the Golden Sun bats to work some more damage on the scoreboard.
In the bottom of the frame, Tech’s offense would start hot quick as Kassie Mayberry sent a leadoff single to right center field to put one on base with no outs to start the bottom of the second. She would advance to second base following the groundout to second base by Shelby Chavers. Brooke Prewitt would hit a single to left field, but Mayberry would hold on second as Kaylyn Aguirre approached the plate for her second at-bat of the game.
Aguirre would hit a successful sacrifice bunt into play, but would ultimately wind up reaching second base on a throwing error by the Crimson Storm third baseman which sent Prewitt to third and scored Mayberry on the error as the Golden Suns took a 2-0 lead.
A bunt to third by Makenzie Goins would score Prewitt and put Aguirre on third. Goins would end up stealing second to put two in prime scoring position for the Golden Suns as Makenzie Addis continued her at-bat. Addis busted a double to left field to score both runners and put up the final two runs of the inning on the board as the Golden Suns held a 5-0 lead heading into the top of the third.
Once again, Buffington put in work in the circle in the top of the third retiring three straight batters for Southern Nazarene. The Golden Suns would stay quiet on offense in the bottom of the frame, sending the game into the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Golden Suns would put away the game with another big inning. The Crimson Storm would leadoff the inning dishing out walks to both Goins and Addis, while Jessica Williams hit a single to right center field to score Goins and put Addis on third. Arissa Harrish would pinch run for Williams and steal second base. Another single to the shortstop by Mahan would score Addis. Mahan then collected a double steal by grabbing both second and third, while Harrish struck home plate for a steal to give the Golden Suns some shifty maneuvering for another run. The final run of the game would be scored by Mayberry with a single up the middle to give the Golden Suns a 9-0 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Buffington would close out the game in the top of the fifth inning and give the Golden Suns their 9-0 five-inning run rule victory over Southern Nazarene for their first GAC win of the season.
To start the second and final game of the afternoon, Bradi Basler would get the start in the circle for Tech. The Crimson Storm would be the team to strike first putting up a pair of runs in the top of the first inning with a double to centerfield that scored one, while a throwing error by the Golden Suns allowed Southern Nazarene to pick up one more run making it a 2-0 game heading into the bottom of the frame.
The Golden Suns would respond to the early damage done by the Crimson Storm and match them run-for-run. Southern Nazarene would open the bottom of the first with a leadoff walk to Prewitt, while Aguirre sent out a single to the pitcher on a bunt to put two on for Tech. Goins would get across a successful sac bunt that would move ahead both Prewitt and Aguirre one base to put both in scoring position. The Crimson Storm would then walk another two batters in Addis and Williams to force Prewitt on third to score following the walk to Williams. Arkansas Tech would score the tying run off a sacrifice flyout to left field by Kacie Gibbins to head into the top of the second tied 2-2.
Southern Nazarene would put up another run in the top of the second inning off a single to center field that scored a runner from second to take a 3-2 lead over the Golden Suns. The lone run in the top of the second would be the final run of the day scored by the Crimson Storm.
Tech would stay quiet offensively in the third inning as the game moved into the top of the fourth inning.
Basler would record two outs and let a single pass before the Golden Suns opted to pull her and put Kaila Cartwright in the circle for relief. Cartwright walked her first batter, but got right back on the next one to collect the final out of the top of the fourth.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Golden Suns would put away their final game of the day with some more hot offense. Basler got things started with a single up the middle and would come out as Harrish replaced her on first as a pinch runner. Mayberry would then take a tough hit to the leg off a pitch sending her to first and moving Harrish to second as Chavers headed to the plate. Chavers would deliver a big single through the right side bringing around Harrish from second to score pushing Mayberry ahead to third to tie the game 3-3.
Following her at-bat, Chavers would steal second putting two runners in scoring position for the Golden Suns. Prewitt smacked a sac flyout to left field to let Mayberry strike home plate to give the Golden Suns a 4-3 lead. Following a passed ball that would advance Chavers to third, Aguirre would drive in the final run of the afternoon for the Golden Suns with a single up the middle to bring in Chavers and give her team the 5-3 lead.
Cartwright was handed the keys to close out the game for the remaining three innings in the circle and would do just that holding the Crimson Storm to no runs and letting her team walk away with the 5-3 win and take both doubleheader games.