Western New Mexico hopped over the .500 mark in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference softball standings at the expense of intrastate rival New Mexico Highlands on Saturday, sweeping the first two of a four-game series in Las Vegas.
WNMU (19-25 overall, 15-13 RMAC) outslugged Highlands 13-8 in their first game en route to a 5-1 win.
The Cowgirls were 7-34 and 4-26 respectively, going into Sunday’s games.
Sarah Byrne drove in four Mustang runs, including three off a home run she smashed in the top of the fifth. That was a difference-maker, as Western had led just 1-0 going into the inning.
Highlands answered with a single score in the bottom of the inning, as Roxanne Avalos drove in Samantha Butler with a sacrifice fly.
Butler led NMHU, going 3 for 4. Kristy Partridge was 2 for 4.
WNMU’s Kaitlynn Barnes hit 3 of 4.
Melissa Martinez absorbed the pitching loss, striking out seven but allowing 13 hits and five earned runs.
Like Martinez, WNMU ace Bri Robles also went the distance, scattering eight hits and two walks over seven innings.
Game two was knotted 3-3 going into the final inning. Then, aided by a walk and later a fielding error, the Mustangs scored three times.
The Cowgirls got one run back when Alyssa Ramirez plated Partridge on a sacrifice fly.
Partridge went 3 of 3. Butler, Martinez and Alysha Alvarez had two hits apiece, and each doubled.
Martinez was tagged with the loss after relieving Ashley Paiz. Combined, they held WNMU to seven hits.