RIO RANCHO, N.M.– The Texas A&M University-Commerce softball team registered two wins in their season-opening day of play. The Lions defeated New Mexico Highlands 10-2 and Adams State 13-0 in five innings. The Lions start the season 2-0 for the fourth consecutive year.
The Lions return to action on Saturday with two games against nationally ranked opponents. A&M-Commerce will face No. 22 St. Mary’s at 10 a.m. MST (11 a.m. CST) and No. 8 Colorado Mesa at 12:30 p.m. MST (1:30 p.m. CST). Both games will be at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Kinsie Hebler hit .800 with three home runs and four hits over the two games, leading the team with seven RBIs and a 2.600 slugging percentage. Hebler also started the first game in the circle, recording six strikeouts.
– Chealsea Slider hit .667 with a home run and four RBIs.
– Mariah Jameyson hit .571 with a three-run homer in the second game. She had six RBIs and two runs scored.
– Baylea Higgs had four hits and scored four times. Hebler also crossed the plate four times.
– Ciera Nunez had three stolen bases and scored four runs. She also drew four walks.
– Jodie Hill went 2-for-2 with a double and a triple, recording an RBI and scoring.
– Emily Otto won the second game, pitching four innings and giving up only two hits with four strikeouts. Katie Dean recorded the win in the Lions’ first game. Selena Rima also threw for the Lions and had four strikeouts.
– Kimber Neal, Vanessa Avina, and Kayla Kilcrease also all scored runs. Neal, Hill, Avina, and Kilcrease even all had stolen bases.
– As a whole, the Lions hit .451, scored 23 runs on 23 hits and had an on-base percentage of .531.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Game 1)
The Lions had three hits in the top of the first, but a couple of players were caught trying to steal. Hebler then came to the plate and hammered a pitch over the right-center fence, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead after a half inning. The Lion defense also responded. Hebler had a strikeout, and it was a quick inning that had the Lions ahead 1-0 after one complete.
Hebler struck out the side in the bottom of the second inning, but the Lion bats became cold in the second and third innings. Hebler struck out the first batter of the third inning. After the next batter walked, the next batter lined into a double play, ending the rally. The Lions had a hit in the top of the fourth but could not bring the runner around.
The Lions fought their way out of trouble in the bottom of the fourth inning. A double was followed by a single up the middle to drive in the tying run. Hebler then faced bases loaded with two outs but fought through the at-bat and caused the batter to fly out, stranding the other three runners. The game was tied 1-1 after four.
The Lions had the makings of a two-out rally in the fifth as Neal blasted a pitch off the wall in center field. However, she could not be brought around to score. Dean came in to pitch for the Lions and retired the side to end the fifth with the score tied at one.
The Lions ran away with the game in the final two innings. In the top of the sixth, Nunez led off with a single and Higgs also singled. After a Hebler walk loaded the bases, Jameyson singled up the middle to drive in two runs. Slider then drove in another run on a sacrifice fly. Vanessa Avina then came in and pushed in Jameyson to bring the score to 5-1 after six.
In the seventh, the Lions continued to score, padding their lead. The Lions had three stolen bases in the inning, and Hebler drew a walk to bring in a run. Jameyson had another RBI before Slider hit a single to left to drive in two more runs. Avina finished the series with an RBI double to left center. The Lions led 10-1.
The Lions gave up a run in the bottom of the seventh but closed out the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED (Game 2)
After a quick top of the inning, the Lions wasted no time getting on the board in the bottom of the first. Nunez drew a walk and then Higgs had an infield hit. After a wild pitch put both in scoring position, Hebler came and singled up the middle to score Nunez. Jameyson then came up and blasted a bases-clearing home run over the center field wall to score three more runs. Not to be outdone, Slider came up next and hit a solo shot over the left field wall. Hill also had an RBI double in the inning, and the Lions led 7-0 after one inning.
After another quick top of the inning, which gave Otto her second strikeout, the Lions got back to work in the bottom of the second and scored three more runs. Hebler led off and hit a solo homer in right center. The Lions then scored another run on a passed ball before Neal had a sacrifice fly to score a run. The Lions led 10-0 after two innings.
Otto had another strikeout in the top of the third inning as the Grizzlies again did not record a hit. In the bottom of the third inning, Nunez and Higgs both drew walks before scoring on a three-run home run from Hebler, giving the Lions a 13-0 lead.
Otto had another strikeout in the fourth inning, and the Lions began to experiment with the lineup, bringing in multiple players to pinch hit. Rima came in in the top of the fifth to pitch and struck out two, including the final batter of the game to give the Lions the 13-0 shutout in five innings.
SILVER CITY, N.M. – The No. 22-ranked Texas A&M University-Commerce men’s basketball team used a dramatic last-minute comeback to force overtime, then closed the game on a 10-0 run to earn a 93-87 win at Western New Mexico University on Thursday night.
The Lions are now 17-4 overall and 9-3 in the Lone Star Conference, while Western New Mexico falls to 3-18 overall and 0-12 in the LSC.
A&M-Commerce travels to Portales, N.M., for a 4 p.m MST (5 p.m. CST) matchup at Eastern New Mexico on Saturday.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Reggie Reid scored 35 points to lead all scorers, including eight of the Lions’ 16 points in the overtime period.
– Willie Rooks scored 22 points, including the game-tying three-pointer to send the game to overtime.
– Aaron Horne netted 18 points before fouling out, including a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range.
– Dorian Armstrong grabbed 15 rebounds to lead all players in that category.
– The Lions shot 44.9 percent from the field, connecting on 31-of-69 shots. Western New Mexico shot 45.8 percent from the floor (22-of-48) and made up for the 21-shot floor discrepancy by connecting on 32-of-40 free throws (80.0 percent).
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Lions took an early lead thanks to triples from post players, as Joseph Williams-Powell and Horne canned long-distance attempt early to put the Lions up 8-2. An eight-point Mustang run put the hosts up by four points eight minutes into the game at 14-10.
A&M-Commerce then scored 18 of the game’s next 22 points, with Horne scoring ten straight points for the Lions. His three-pointer at the 6:53 mark put the blue and gold up 28-18 for the first double-digit lead of the night. The Lions would lead by as many as 12 points in the half before going into the break with a 40-32 advantage.
The Lions scored the first four points of the second half to extend their lead back to a game-high 12 points on a Rooks layup. The edge was still at double digits for the Lions with 10 minutes to play before a barrage of free throws brought the hosts back into the game.
Western New Mexico went nearly five minutes between baskets, but in that same time, erased a seven-point deficit with 12 free throws. Three free throws for WNMU at the 4:35 mark tied the game at 65-65.
The Mustangs were able to get out to a five-point lead. The teams traded points down the stretch, and WNMU held a 75-70 lead into the final minute of the game. The Lions put on the full-court press and forced a turnover while down three points. Rooks then drained a corner triple to tie the game at 77-77. The Mustangs heaved a last-second shot that went short, sending the game to the extra frame.
In the overtime period, both teams were on fire from a long distance to begin the extra time. Rooks and Srdan Budimir hit triples for the Lions, and the game was tied at 83-all with three minutes to play.
WNMU went on a 4-0 run, and the Mustangs were up 87-83 with 2:07 to play, but the Lions would shut them down for the rest of the night. Reid scored eight straight points and two Budimir free throws closed out the Lion victory.
Lions survive scare at Western New Mexico, 69-67.
SILVER CITY, N.M. – The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s basketball team survived a scare from Western New Mexico University on Thursday night, pulling out a 69-67 victory.
The Lions moved to 15-6 overall and remain in first place in the Lone Star Conference with an 11-2 record. Western New Mexico falls to 0-21 overall and 0-13 in the LSC.
A&M-Commerce now travels to Portales, N.M., to take on Eastern New Mexico at 2 p.m MST (3 p.m. CST) on Saturday.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
– Princess Davis led three Lions in double-digit scoring with 16 points, also passing out five assists and snagging four steals.
– Artaejah Gay and Brianna Wise each scored 13 points.
– WNMU’s Ciara Fields scored 29 points.
– The Lions shot 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field while limiting Western New Mexico to 33.3 percent shooting (19-of-57).
– The Mustangs made 22-of-23 free throws (95.7 percent) to stay in the game. The Lions struggled at the charity stripe, making 15-of-27 (55.6 percent) of their free throws.
– Jenna Price had a game-high nine rebounds, but the Mustangs had a 39-37 advantage on the boards.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Mustangs jumped out to an early lead thanks to three-point shooting. WNMU made triples on three straight possessions to put up an 11-5 advantage with 7:19 to go in the first quarter. The Lions chipped away at that lead but were unable to take the lead in the quarter. Price’s three-pointer on the final possession of the period made it a 16-15 lead for Western after the initial 10 minutes.
WNMU stretched its lead back to six points with 7:30 left in the first half before a 10-point Lion surge gave the blue and gold their early lead of the contest. London Holland’s three-pointer with 5:20 left in half put the Lions up 26-25. Lauren Parker’s layup with just under five minutes left made it a three-point game for A&M-Commerce’s largest lead of the half. The Lions took a 32-31 lead into the halftime break.
After a pair of Lion free throws put the guests up by three early, but Fields canned a three-pointer to tie the game. The game went back and for five minutes before the Lions went cold, unable to score for nearly three minutes. Five straight Mustang points put the hosts back on top 43-40 with 4:18 left in the quarter.
The Lions scored the next four points to retake the lead, but WNMU outscored A&M-Commerce 8-4 in the last two minutes of the quarter. The Mustangs led 51-48 with 10 minutes to play.
A&M-Commerce erased the deficit in the first minute of the fourth quarter and took its largest lead of the game with a six-point run. Gay’s layup with six minutes to go made it a 57-53 lead for the Lions.
The Mustangs were only able to make one field goal in the final five minutes of the game, but were 9-of-10 from the free throw line down the stretch, holding the Lions at arm’s length. WNMU led 67-65 inside the final minute before Davis tied the game with 38.0 seconds remaining with a layup.
The Lions picked up two steals in the final minute and forced a weak Mustang shot. Two free throws in the last 30 seconds allowed the Lions to pull out the tight victory.