YUMA, Ariz. – On Thursday afternoon, the Arizona Western College softball team erased early deficits to pull out a sweep of South Mountain Community College in Yuma. The Lady Mats won 10-3 in game one after trailing 3-0, and they won 7-6 in game two by erasing a 4-0 hole.
AWC (15-8 overall, 11-7 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) found an offensive flow the second time through the order in game two. Down 4-0 in the fourth inning, Caylin Espericueta smoked a solo home run for her first homer of the season. Julie Roach followed with a single, and Nadia Hernandez whacked a double just past second base that scored Roach from first to cut the lead to 4-2.
The Lady Mats batted around in the fifth inning. With one out, Sally Gastelo singled to left field and went to second when Alisha Diaz was hit. With two outs, Roach walked before Hernandez lined a single to shallow center field. Gastelo scored, and Diaz just beat the throw home to tie the game at four. Belinda Gonzalez walked to re-load the bases, and Erika Mercado walked to send home a run. Jessaca Delgado hit one to short that was misplayed, and a run came home for a 6-4 lead.
South Mountain (7-13 overall, 6-12 ACCAC) rallied to tie things up in the sixth. With a runner on second, Lexi Andazola slapped a single to right field to make it 6-5. Andazola came home two batters later on an Emily Stebbins double down the left field line.
The Lady Mats answered with what proved to be the winning run in the bottom of the sixth. Espericueta knocked a fly ball deep to right-center field that dropped, and she legged out a triple. South Mountain’s throw to third went wide, and Espericueta raced home. She slid under the tag to give AWC a 7-6 lead. She went 2-4 with two runs scored and an RBI in the game.
Belinda Gonzalez (9-4) mowed down South Mountain in order in the top of the seventh to secure the win. She came on in relief of Nadia Hernandez to start the fourth inning and allowed three runs on five hits. The sophomore didn’t issue a walk and struck out five. Hernandez had allowed three runs on seven hits in three innings while striking out three and walking one.
Early on, it seemed like South Mountain would blow the game open. In the third inning, Kortney Pock doubled home one run to put SMCC on the board. Two batters later, Tatumn Porras doubled home two more with a deep ball to right-center field that made it 3-0.
SMCC pushed the lead to 4-0 in the top of the fourth. Pock hit a sacrifice fly to center field with the bases loaded to score one.
Megan Jesionowski (3-5) took the loss for South Mountain after relieving Bailey Coronado during the fifth inning. She allowed one run on one hit while walking two and striking out two.
In game one, South Mountain scored three quick runs in the first. With two on and two out, Porras doubled in two runs. She came home when Stebbins singled to left-center.
The Lady Mats answered in a big way in the bottom half of the inning. With runners on first and second, Espericueta cracked a single to left-center that scored one run. With two outs, Gonzalez smacked a double deep to left field to cut the lead to 3-2. Mercado then cranked an opposite-field home run out to right field. The three-run bomb was her first homer of the season and put AWC up 5-3. She went 2-2 with a run scored and three RBI in the game.
AWC added a run in the second inning. Gastelo hit a one out double, and she went to third on a sacrifice by Alisha Diaz. Espericueta hit a high fly ball to center field, but it was dropped. Gastelo came home for a 6-3 lead.
Gonzalez put things on cruise control in the circle for the next few innings for the Lady Mats. She only allowed three hits after the first inning to pick up the win. She struck out eight while not issuing a walk in the complete-game win.
Arizona Western added insurance runs in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Roach ripped a two-run single to push the lead to five. Hernandez followed it up with a two-run double and a 10-3 lead.
Porras (1-2) took the loss for South Mountain. She allowed 10 runs on 11 hits in the game while walking four and striking out five.
The Lady Mats head out to the Copper State Classic this weekend. Tomorrow afternoon the team plays Benedictine University at Mesa at 2:00 pm at Pioneer Park in Prescott.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma. AWC leads the state in enrollment growth over the past 10 years and handed out more than 2,400 certificates and degrees in 2015-16.