Everything clicked for the UTPB Falcons in their softball doubleheader against the Western New Mexico Mustangs on Saturday afternoon.
In Game 1, UTPB erased a 6-0 deficit and won 14-13 in walk-off fashion on a two-RBI double by Adrianna Berzoza. The offense continued its hot streak into the series finale as the Falcons came out on top 12-7.
UTPB won the first two games of the series, 8-1 and 7-6, Friday night.
It takes lots of teamwork and heart to overcome a sizable deficit. The Falcons exhibited the qualities needed to battle and win.
“I think we just showed tremendous heart. I think that it was nothing more than really putting your heart and mind and just gritting it out,” UTPB head coach Tiala Tagaloa said. “Honestly, I think sometimes it wasn’t really pretty, but at the end of the day we got the job done.”
To start the first game, the Mustangs scored six runs in the top of the first. Adriana Maldonado hit a two-run home run in the big rally.
UTPB (16-27 overall, 4-17 Lone Star Conference) cut the lead in half with three runs in the bottom half of the first. Vanessa Alonzo delivered a clutch two-RBI single in the frame.
A crucial error in the top of the third and an RBI single by Dominique Gonzales extended Western New Mexico’s lead to 9-4.
UTPB’s Ashlynn Williams doubled in two runs to spark a four-run rally in the bottom of the third that cut the deficit to one.
The Falcons tied the game on an RBI double by Aubree Avila in the fifth inning.
A grand slam by Alicia Habitzreuther gave the Mustangs a 13-9 lead in the top of the sixth. UTPB answered back in the bottom half after April Arellano drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and Alonzo tallied an RBI single to cut the deficit to two.
With one last chance for UTPB in the bottom half of the seventh, Avila drove in Williams on an RBI double. Berzoza then came through in the clutch to win the game.
“Honestly, I was just trying to put it in play. We were down by one. For some reason, I thought we were down by two,” Berzoza said about her walk-off hit. “Whenever I hit that hit, I thought that I tied the game. We ended up winning. That was pretty cool.
“I just wanted to put it in play and put us in a good position to score. It’s a good feeling. We definitely needed this sweep for conference. I’m glad that our bats finally came around and we could string them all together.”
The Falcons came out with lots of intensity to begin Game 2. They took a 4-0 lead after they had five hits in the bottom of the first.
Western New Mexico (4-35, 2-19) battled back with back-to-back home runs from Clarissa Moreno and Carolyn Castillo in the top of the second.
UTPB’s Lizzie Souza hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the second and scored on an error by the second baseman to make the score 5-2.
In the top of the third, the Mustangs tied up the game by pushing across three runs on four hits. They took a 7-6 lead in the fourth on a two-run home run by Maldonado.
The Falcons’ offense erupted in the bottom of the fifth as they scored six runs on seven hits to take a 12-7 lead. Jessica Gonzales and Cindy Juarez each homered in the inning.
To highlight Game 1, Souza and Avila each finished 3 for 4 with three singles and an RBI. Alonzo had three singles to go along with her three RBIs.
Juarez (5-6) notched the win after throwing 6.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on 10 hits.
Souza and Alonzo each finished 3 for 4 in Game 2. The pair drove in three runs. Williams went 3 for 4 with three singles and two RBIs.
Avila (3-2) got the win after pitching four innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs.
>>Follow Peter Dindinger on Twitter @OA_PDindinger
WNMU……….. 603 0040 — 13 14 3
UTPB………….. 314 0123 — 14 17 3
Lyana Waddell, Aryana Gutierrez (3) and Yasmeen Gastelum. Maritza Rojas, Cindy Juarez (1) and Ashlynn Williams. W — Juarez (5-6). L — Gutierrez (0-3). 2B — WNMU: Ariana Maldonado; Carolyn Castillo; Dominique Gonzales. UTPB: Adrianna Berzoza; April Arellano; Juarez (2); Williams; Aubree Avila (2) HR — WNMU: Maldonado; Alicia Habitzreuther.
WNMU……….. 023 2000 — 7 9 3
UTPB………….. 411 060x — 12 17 0
Aryana Gutierrez and Clarissa Moreno. Sloan Springfield, Aubree Avila (4) and Ashlynn Williams. W — Avila (3-2). L — Gutierrez (0-4). 2B — WNMU: Ariana Maldonado; Carolyn Castillo. UTPB: Cindy Juarez. 3B — UTPB: Lizzie Souza (2). HR — WNMU: Maldonado; Moreno; Castillo. UTPB: Jessica Gonzalez; Juarez.
Records — UTPB (16-27 overall, 4-17 Lone Star Conference play); WNMU (4-35, 2-19).