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Cowgirl softball wins UCCS series

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Before this past weekend, it had been a while since the New Mexico Highlands softball team won a four-game series with Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference rivals.

But with 7-1 and 7-5 wins in day two of a two-day, four-game set at Colorado-Colorado Springs, the Cowgirls and coach Shellie Broyles put an end to that drought.

NMHU, now 7-6 overall and 3-1 in the RMAC, continues league play at home this weekend, hosting Colorado School of Mines on Saturday and Sunday.

NMHU had split a Saturday doubleheader, opening the series with a 13-4 victory followed by a 7-5 loss.

But it was all Highlands on Sunday.

Melissa Martinez (4-1) shackled the Mountain Lions in game three of the series, limiting them to four hits and one earned run while striking out 10 in a complete-game pitching win.

Martinez and the Cowgirl defense had a shutout going until the bottom of the sixth, when  Christina Blanton hit a solo home run.

Kelsey Groff (2 for 4, three runs batted in, one run scored) paced Highlands’ offense. She and Tanya Groff and Chanel Ewing all homered for NMHU.

Four runs came in the top of the third with two outs. Tanya Groff drilled a solo home run to make it a 2-0 game. Then, after the Cowgirls put two runners on, Kelsey Groff hit a three-run blast.

Game four of the series required an extra inning when a 5-5 stalemate existed through seven frames.

Aided by a Mountain Lion error, Andin Moran drove in Ewing and Samantha Butler from second and third, respectively, in the top of the eighth.

Then Martinez, who had come on in relief, retired three batters in order after giving up a leadoff single to Ashley Jordan.

In all, eight Highlands batters connected for at least one hit in the game. Butler (2 for 5, three RBI, one run), Moran (2 of 5, two RBI, one run), Tanya Groff (2 for 3, one run) and Kelsey Groff (2 for 4, one run) each had multiple hits. Moran hit a solo bomb in the second inning.

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NMHU’s baseball team lost 12-8 to RMAC archrival Mesa State on Sunday at Brandt Park. The Cowboys had won two of the previous three with the Mavericks. Kyle Gutchewsky had three hits to lead NMHU (12-4); Danny Brown drove in five runs; Jason Carr three.