TWU coach Richie Bruister earned his 300th victory Saturday when the Pioneers beat Newman 8-1 at Pioneer Field.
Bailey Vrazel powered the TWU attack and broke a school record as the Pioneers swept the three-game series.
Lizzy Kelly and Vrazel each went 3 for 4, and Kelly hit two RBI doubles.
“A lot of people hit the ball well today — our whole team from top to bottom,” Vrazel said. “Amanda Ruiz hit the ball well all series. We had a team effort. Lizzy is staying hot. She has been hot since we started this spring and so have a lot of our teammates.”
With two steals in the game, Vrazel tied and then broke the TWU record for career steals. She has 155, passing Cathy Jacobson, who pilfered 154 bases from 1997-2000. Vrazel is 28 steals away from breaking the Lone Star Conference record.
“I didn’t know about it,” Vrazel said of the school record. “It was a surprise. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. Honestly, I brought my confidence today.”
Bruister said he’s impressed by Vrazel’s desire for greatness.
“It’s a special talent,” Bruister said. “It’s not one that I can coach. The good Lord blessed her with special talents. We sure are glad that she stole those bases for us and not for somebody else. She’s just a special person. She’s not happy unless she goes 4 for 4, and in [batting practice] she’s not happy if she doesn’t hit every one hard.
“She wants to be the best, and that’s why she’s going to do great things in life.”
The Pioneers (5-3) got a complete game out of Larisa Garcia (1-1), who surrendered only three hits and one unearned run while striking out six.
“The pitchers did great,” Bruister said of the series. “They hit their spots. We worked ahead in the count a lot. We threw a lot of strikes this weekend, and anytime you work ahead in the count, you can throw all your pitches to keep the batters off balance.”
After the Pioneers averaged just under three runs a game while going 2-3 last weekend at the St. Mary’s Classic, TWU exploded for 25 runs in three games against Newman (2-5).
“We had a tough weekend the first weekend,” Bruister said. “It was good competition and we had opportunities. We just didn’t hit. That was our focus this week.”
The Pioneers struck first Saturday when Vrazel scored on a wild pitch by Kelsey Jones, who allowed three runs, seven hits and four walks in five innings.
The Lady Jets evened the game in the second when Molly Hein was hit by a pitch and scored on a throwing error.
“Our defense is strong,” Vrazel said. “Even if we made a few errors, we can bounce back from anything. We didn’t let it affect us. We kept playing the ball and we didn’t let it get in our heads. We can stay calm through any situation.”
The Pioneers added two runs in the fourth inning. Kathryn Williams’ sacrifice fly scored Kelly, who led off with a single. Ruiz, who went 2 for 2, hit an RBI single to right to make it 3-1.
Kelly’s RBI double to left-center gave the Pioneers a 4-1 advantage in the fifth inning before TWU exploded for four runs in the sixth inning.
Ruiz drew a leadoff walk, and Haley Colwell’s double that skipped over third base drove her home to make it 5-1. Vrazel hit an RBI single and scored on a Jordan Readicker single. Kelly’s second double of the game made it 8-1.
Bruister coached at Henderson State from 2004-08 before taking the TWU post.
“That’s a testament to the wonderful players that I’ve been fortunate to coach that have overcome my coaching abilities,” Bruister said of his milestone. “They’ve made me look good 300 times. I’ve been very blessed to have those great players at Henderson and these great players here at Texas Woman’s. They’ve done an awesome job. My hat is off to all of them that have put up with me day in and day out. I love every each and one of them.”
PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
TWU 8, Newman 1
Newman 010 000 0 — 1 3 2
TWU 100 214 x — 8 11 3
2B — N: Kelsey Jones. T: Haley Colwell, Kelly (2).