BELTON – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor softball team split its season opener with Southwestern University Saturday afternoon in Belton, grabbing an 8-2 win in the first game of the doubleheader and dropping the second contest 3-1. The Cru opens the season at 1-1 while the Pirates moved to 1-5.
In the first game, UMHB took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Karley Free scored off an error on Southwestern before Emily Marrs hit an RBI single, scoring Kelsey Vann from second base. Southwestern responded in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run inning, scoring one run off an RBI single from Taylor Curtis and one on a wild pitch. UMHB responded with a big fourth inning, beginning with an RBI single from Marrs. Janie Neyland responded with a two-RBI single, followed by back-to-back RBI from Leah Brown and Amelia Cluke. Cori Drake forced Southwestern into an error for the final run of the inning, giving UMHB an 8-2 lead and eventually, the season-opening win. Marrs and Neyland led the Cru with two RBI each while Marrs went 3-3 at the plate. Haley Parker earned the win in the circle, pitching six innings with five hits, two runs, one walk and three strikeouts. UMHB totaled eight runs on 10 hits while the Pirates had two runs on five hits with two errors.
Southwestern took a lead in the second game when Michele Ramos scored in the top of the first, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead. Berkeley Bacon extended the Pirates’ lead to two with a home run in the top of the third. Cori Drakeresponded with an RBI single, scoring Neyland from first. Southwestern added another run in the top of the seventh to seal the 3-1 victory. Drake led the Cru with two hits while Leah Brown added one. UMHB totaled one run on three hits with one error while the Pirates had three runs on six hits with one error. Olivia Curtis took the loss on the mound for the Cru, allowing two runs on three hits and one strikeout. Tiffany Birdwell also saw time at pitcher for the Cru, allowing three hits with one run and one strikeout.
UMHB will return to action in a conference-opening series against Howard Payne in Brownwood with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Friday, February 20th.