WTAMU Lady Buffs use big bats to gain sweep of Eastern New Mexico

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WTAMU slugger Diana Murtha (12) hit three home runs during two wins against Eastern New Mexico on Wednesday at Schaeffer Park in Canyon. [Autumn Juettemeyer/ WTAMU athletics]
The No. 2-ranked West Texas A&M Lady Buffs broke out the lumber that not only kept WTAMU red-hot but helped lead to a three-game sweep of rival Eastern New Mexico during Lone Star Conference action on Tuesday and Wednesday at Schaeffer Park in Canyon.

The Lady Buffs rallied to score seven unanswered to beat the Greyhounds 7-3 to open the series on Tuesday, then picked up a pair of run-rule wins, 9-0, 9-1, on Wednesday to complete the sweep.

The Lady Buffs used the long ball totaling nine home runs in the series including six on Wednesday with the wind blowing dead out. Four of those came off the bat from slugger Diana Murtha who hit three of those homers on Wednesday alone.

The Lady Buffs continue to roll improving to 25-2 overall and 17-1 in the LSC.

Game 1

The Lady Buffs found themselves actually trailing ENMU 3-0 through the first three innings of Tuesday’s opener.

WTAMU found momentum cracking into the scoring column in the bottom of the fourth as a fielder’s choice and a walk put runners on for WT with two outs.

Emily Liskai snuck a single up the middle, allowing Randall Heaven Moreno to race home and score the Lady Buffs’ first run of the inning. After the lineup turned over, Lauren Granger powered a 1-1 pitch to left-center field for a three-run home run, putting WT in the driver’s seat for the first time.

An inning later, the Lady Buffs broke the game open. Emilee Boyer started the inning with a single to center before exiting the game for pinch-runner Kiley Avery. After watching a ball go by, Murtha connected with a no-doubt-about-it two-run home run to left center field, extending the lead to 6-3. Madison Johnson followed Murtha’s home run with a home run of her own as the senior lifted a ball over the left-center wall.

The two big innings gave freshman pitcher Ashley Mandell more than enough run support to finish off the win, throwing 4.2 innings with three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.

Ashley Mandell of WTAMU delivers a pitch against Eastern New Mexico on Wednesday. [Autumn Juettemeyer/ WTAMU athletics]

Games 2-3

Wednesday’s games weren’t close as the Lady Buffs dominated with dominant hitting and stellar pitching.

During Game 2, which was Wednesday’s first clash, WTAMU broke the bats out in the third behind Murtha with a solo shot to left center pushing the Lady Buffs lead, 4-0.

WTAMU broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth as a Granger single and Brittni Rufus double put traffic on the bases for Boyer. The sophomore walked to load the bases for Murtha. The Lady Buffs’ third baseman wasted no time as Murtha powered a grand slam out of Schaeffer Park for her second home run of the game.

In the late game, WTAMU scored in its first at-bat once again as Granger started the inning with an inside-the-park home run.

Granger powered a ball into the gap where a bounce off the wall sent the ball rolling into right field. The bounce allowed the Lady Buff left fielder to turn on the jets and score without a throw.

With two outs in the inning, Murtha stayed red-hot at the plate as the senior blasted a ball out of the ballpark once again. WT added its third run of the inning when Johnson and Moreno hit back-to-back doubles and it was 3-0.

In the bottom of the fourth, WT scored another run-on Granger’s RBI double to right field. The RBI hit was set up by Guericke’s second hit-by-pitch of the game.

Mandell continued to deal in the circle in the top of the sixth as the freshman finished off the inning with her seventh strikeout of the day.

In the home half of the inning, the Greyhounds recorded two quick outs to turn over the lineup and bring up Granger. Granger singled into right field, allowing Rufus to come to the plate. On a 2-1 count, Rufus powered a home run to center field, bringing the score to 8-1. Needing just one more run to end the game, Boyer homered to the opposite field, capping off the 9-1 run-rule victory.

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