Softball: TWU takes two in home debut

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David Minton/DRC
Texas Woman's University junior Sarah Wittenburg (18) speeds towards third as the ball skips past her during a game against St. Edwards, Saturday, February 22, 2014, at Pioneer Field in Denton.
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After allowing five runs in a one-run victory over St. Edward’s in the final game of a five-game undefeated stretch at last weekend’s St. Edward’s Round Robin, TWU battened down the hatches defensively, allowing just one run Saturday in sweeping its doubleheader home debut against the Hilltoppers.

Two-time defending Lone Star Conference pitcher of the week Brandie Lander pitched a complete game in the Pioneers’ 5-0 victory in the opener, and Katie Hines notched a career-high eight strikeouts in a 5-1 win in the nightcap at Pioneer Field.

Lander, who was 5-0 with a 0.30 ERA in the St. Edward’s tournament with three shutouts, surrendered just four hits and one walk Saturday while striking out three on 116 pitches.

“I thought Brandie did well,” TWU coach Genny Stidham said. “I think she’s tired. She’s pitched a lot of games, but she was still on target. She’s very confident right now in her pitches. She knows that if she needs to spot it up that she can spot it up. I’m just impressed with her from start to finish. Even when people get on base, there’s no change in her demeanor. That tells me that she’s really confident in herself, and I like that.”

Lander (11-0) said she feels more relaxed than ever.

“I don’t know if it’s my senior year and I don’t have anything to lose or what,” Lander said. “I just know that if a girl gets on base that she’s not scoring, and I’m fine with that. It helps that our defense is working really well right now and we’re getting hits when we need them. If we keep doing that, then nobody is going to be able to beat us.”

The Pioneers came up with plenty of hits in the first game, but it took them until the fourth inning to crack the scoreless tie on junior Sarah Wittenburg’s sacrifice fly.

TWU broke the game open the following inning when senior Amanda Ruiz ripped an RBI triple off the center field field wall, scoring sophomore Tealey Farquahar. After senior Bailey Vrazel walked and stole second and junior Kendra Sancet walked, Hines’ RBI groundout made it 3-0. Wittenburg delivered her second RBI of the game with a single to right, and freshman Alyssa Galaz put the Pioneers ahead 5-0 with her RBI single to left.

In the second game, Hines’ eight strikeouts came on a variety of pitches while she allowed just one run on five hits and no walks.

“I have a really great pitching coach,” Hines said of Stidham. “She has been working with me on correcting a few things and adding a few pitches in. I would have never been able to get eight strikeouts without her. I think she’s a really smart pitch caller. I trust everything she’s calling out there. It’s really nice to have somebody that’s been around the game so long to be calling pitches for you.”

Heading into Saturday, Galaz had a .286 batting average. After going 1-for-2 with an RBI, she felt like she could improve and spoke to her dad between games.

With a quick fix, Galaz helped open up the nightcap quickly with a three-run home run in the first, her third of the season, to give the Pioneers some instant breathing room at 4-0 after a Wittenburg sacrifice bunt scored Vrazel, who reached on a single.

“My dad plays a big part,” Galaz said. “He breaks down every little thing that’s wrong with [my swing], and every time I get to talk to him it really helps. I guess that’s just the result of really paying attention to your swing and breaking it down. I was dropping my hands a lot, and I guess I was getting too eager. When I get too eager, I start to swing at a lot of stuff and I don’t wait back. That was my biggest problem.”

Galaz added another RBI in the third, and the Pioneers (14-3) cruised to victory on the shoulders of Hines.

PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873 and via Twitter at @PatrickHayslip.

TWU 5, St. Edward’s 0

St. Edward’s

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W – Brandie Lander (11-0). L – Katelyn Klug (5-3). 2B – S: Marisa Bogart. T: Katie Hines. 3B – T: Amanda Ruiz.

TWU 5, St. Edward’s 1

St. Edward’s

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W – Katie Hines (2-3). L – Sarah Debrow (6-5). 2B –T: Kendra Sancet. HR – T: Alyssa Galaz.


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