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Zia softball on a roll

TUCSON, Ariz. — First-year Eastern New Mexico University softball coach Kevin Blaskowski is hoping the Zias can carry the momentum of a 3-0 weekend in the Tucson Invitational into the start of Lone Star Conference South Division play this weekend.

The Zias (9-15) were rained out of Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader against Clarion (Pa.), but swept Bryant (R.I.) College 4-1 and 3-2 and whipped NAIA member Waldorf (Iowa) 9-3 on Sunday.

“We’d like to have gotten the two games in (Saturday),” Blaskowski said. “But we played well today. The pitchers did a good job of controlling the games.”

Senior Maegan Rhoten (2-5) pitched a four-hitter in the first-game win over Bryant, walking one and striking out 11 and allowing only an unearned run. The Zias opened a 4-0 lead with three runs in the third.

Stacey Gonzales led an eight-hit attack, going 2-for-4, while Cassandra Gonzales drove in two runs with a single and a sacrifice fly.

ENMU completed the sweep over Bryant, playing its first games of the season, as freshman Ashley Maier (2-1) worked 5 1/3 innings and senior Lauren King got the final five outs for her first save.

Misty Torrez went 3-for-3, while Rhoten and Kyleigh Harris each added 2-for-3 and hit RBI triples in the third and fourth innings, respectively.

The Zias jumped on Waldorf for four runs in the first and King (3-6) went the distance on a four-hitter. ENMU made five errors in the game, leading to three unearned runs for the Lady Warriors.

Sophomore Cindy Hess led a 10-hit attack with three run-scoring singles in four trips. Tracy Jordan and Elizabeth Hawkins each had a pair of hits.

Blaskowski said Rhoten, coming off a recent thumb injury “was overpowering. Bryant didn’t challenge her all day. And Lauren had a good outing against Waldorf; she had good command of all her pitches. All the pitchers threw well.”

The Zias, who haven’t played at home since their Feb. 4 opener against Colorado State-Pueblo, host South preseason favorite Angelo State in a pair of doubleheaders Friday and Saturday at Zia Softball Field.