SOFTBALLERS DROP TWO TO 'RUNNERS
April 29, 2006
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Senior Mel Torres had three hits and a run batted in and sophomore Amanda Nikolenko picked up her 20th victory of the season to lead the UTSA softball team to a 5-1 win over UT Arlington in game one of a doubleheader Saturday at Roadrunner Field. Senior Amanda Horton slugged her conference-leading 16th home run of the season in game two, a 3-1 decision.
The Mavericks (29-19, 16-8) lost the fourth time in five games and will be assure of third-place in next weekend's Southland Conference Postseason Tournament. UTA will face a team to be named at 4 p.m. on Friday in the opening round. With the doubleheader sweep, the Roadrunners improve to 32-12 overall and 21-5 in the Southland Conference. UTSA now has won 16 of its last 17 games, including 11 consecutive in the SLC, and sews up at least second place in the league standings.
Torres went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored to lead a 10-hit, five-run output for the UTSA offense in the opener. Juniors Aimee Murray and Stevi Simpson added two hits and an RBI apiece, while Simpson also hit her seventh home run of the year.
Nikolenko continued her late-season hot streak, posting her 10th straight victory to run her record to 20-5 overall and 13-2 in the SLC. She fanned five and walked none, scattering eight hits and allowing just one run in the win.
In the second game, Horton had two hits and two RBI, blasting her 16th home run of the season.
In game one, the Roadrunners scored in each of the first four frames in building a 5-0 lead. Torres led off the first with a single to right and moved to third on a double off the fence in center field by Els. A wild pitch allowed Torres to come home with the first run of the game.
Freshman Leanne Risberg drove in freshman Brittany Cantu, who doubled to left center to start the second, with a sacrifice fly to short right to push the lead to 2-0 after two. Simpson drilled a full-count pitch deep over the fence in left center in the third to make it 3-0.
UTSA added two unearned runs in the fourth on three hits. Senior Stacey Gillespie lined a one-out single to center and Risberg reached on an infield error. Torres came through with her third hit of the game, a line drive single just inside the bag at third to plate Gillespie. Murray's single up the middle scored Risberg to make it 5-0.
UTA mounted a rally in the seventh, loading the bases with one out after a pair of singles and a hit batter. April Clougherty lined a single into center to score Courtni Anderson, but Gillespie gunned down Lacey Leadbetter at the plate for the second out. Nikolenko got Dee Jay Nelson to pop up to first base to end the threat and the game.
Laura Jones allowed five runs - three earned - on 10 hits and struck out seven in falling to 11-5.
Horton gave UTSA a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first in game two with a towering two-run homer over the scoreboard in left center that scored senior Jessica Els, who walked.
Rackley added her sixth long ball of the season for a key insurance run in the bottom of the sixth.
That was more than enough for the Nikolenko-Mares combination four-hitter. Jill Garro allowed three runs on eight hits and struck out four in falling to 16-11.
Game three is set for noon Sunday.