The top ranked Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M left 16 players on base while allowing a five run fifth inning as their late comeback fell short against the #5 Jacks of Humboldt State on Wednesday afternoon in front of over 400 fans at the Regency Athletic Complex in Denver, Colorado during the 2016 DII College World Series. The Lady Buffs snap a six game win streak as they fall to 59-4 overall while HSU stays on the winner’s side of the bracket as they move to 52-5-1.
“Give credit to Humboldt State, they’re a great team that got out of some big situations on defense and they were able to string together hits for a big inning” said WT head coach Kevin Blaskowski “We’ve got to relax at the plate and just play the game, we’ve talked all week about just enjoying the moment and the opportunity to be here.”
Brittany Gehle started off the game with a great at bat that as the senior walked to leadoff the game followed two batters later by a Shea Ibrahim free pass to put runners on first and second with one out, Lacey Taylor singled to left followed by an Ashley Hardin RBI single to left to score Gehle before the Jacks forced a pair of infield popups to end the inning, 1-0. Humboldt State responded in the bottom of the first inning as Winona Vigil took a 2-2 Kilee Halbert offering deep down the left field line for a solo shot to tie the game at 1-1.
Shayne Starkey led off the second with a single to left center followed two batters later by a Gehle double to the right center field alley, Andrea Sitter loaded the bases as she reached on a fielding error but HSU’s Katie Obbema responded with a pair of strikeouts in the heart of the WT lineup to send the teams to the third tied at 1-1. The Jacks looked to take the lead in the home half of the second as a hit-by-pitch and a walk with one out out runners on first and second followed a a groundout to Kourtney Coveney at second as the runners moved up 60 feet before Halbert forced a flyout to Hardin in center.
The top of the order came up big again for the Lady Buffs as Gehle walked again with one out followed by a perfect bunt by Sitter that stopped on the third base line as Gehle made a heads up play and moved to third while Sitter moved to second with one out. Humboldt responded with a big strikeout before a Lacey Taylor walk to load the bases but another strikeout ended the frame with the teams tied 1-1. The Jacks took their first lead of the game in the home half of the fourth as Breonna Bejaran hit a leadoff homerun to right center field followed by a double down the right field line by Julie Pena to knock Halbert from the game, a sac bunt moved the runner up 60 feet followed by a WT error that plated another run before Tori Bayer forced a flyout to Sitter and a grounder to Coveney to end the inning with the Jacks leading 3-1.
The Jacks added to their lead in the home half of the fifth inning as Tiffany Hollingsworth doubled to right center to score Hanna Holland followed by a Pena double off of the left field wall and an RBI single to right center, the Jacks weren’t done yet as they executed a squeeze play followed by a sac fly to right before a line drive to Starkey ended the frame with the Jacks leading 8-1. WT wouldn’t go down without a fight as Sitter walked to leadoff the sixth followed by an Ibrahim single to center, a wild pitch moved the runners into scoring position followed by a Taylor walk to load the bases again. Hardin walked on a full count to score a run followed by a flyout before Coveney singled to right for another run, Starkey singled to left for an RBI followed by a fielder’s choice groundout and a ground ball to second as WT cut the lead to 8-4.
Sitter walked to leadoff the seventh and moved to second on a passed ball followed by a groundout to move Sitter to third with one out, Taylor flied out to the warning track in center field to score Sitter followed by a Hardin single thru the left side before a fly ball to shallow right center ended the game, 8-5. Halbert picked the loss (27-3) for the Lady Buffs, giving up three runs on three hits with one walk and two strikeouts in her 3.0 innings of work.
The Lady Buffs will now have their season on the line tomorrow afternoon in an elimination contest against the winner of this afternoon’s Southern Arkansas/Charleston matchup taking place at 8:30 p.m. CT from Denver. WT will take on the SAU/CU winner tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in an elimination contest with the winner advancing to an 8:30 p.m. CT matchup with the winner of the Adelphi/Northern Alabama contest.