Blossoms swap shutouts with Delta State

MONTICELLO — The Arkansas-Monticello softball team exchanged a pair of shutouts on Wednesday at home, losing the first 3-0 before rallying for 12 hits in a 9-0 win in the second game of the non-conference double header.

“I have no explanation about the first game,” UAM head coach Alvy Early said. “It was like two different teams for us today.

“We were not motivated and we came out flat. But then in the second game, in four innings we hit two home runs and score five runs in the first inning.” UAM (18-10) was limited to just six hits in the first game, two coming from sophomore Sara Matthews, who had a double in the third and an infield single in the sixth.

“It wasn’t what I expected at home, but hopefully we have recovered,” Early said.

The Lady Statesmen (10-12) started their scoring in the top of the first inning on an RBI groundout from Kaitlin Moore. DSU finalized the scoring in the top of the fifth on a two-run homerun from Mariah Alvarez.

Senior Randa Perry (7-7) took the loss after allowing three runs off 10 hits with five strikeouts and two walks in a complete-game effort. DSU’s Miller Maddox (2-2) earned the complete game shutout victory after allowing just six hits while striking out 10 and not allowing any walks in her seven innings in the circle.

UAM wasted no time to snap its scoreless streak in the second game with a five-run first inning off four extra base hits, including a two-run homerun from junior Brittany Eitel. Matthews started the scoring with a two-run double earlier in the inning.

Junior Beth Johnson put UAM up 6-0 in the third with a solo homerun to left center, which was followed later in the inning with an RBI infield single by sophomore Kara House.

Johnson finalized the scoring in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run homerun again to left center. It marked Johnson’s second multi-homerun game of the season.

UAM sophomore starter Katie Slaughter (9-2) earned her first complete-game shutout of the season, holding DSU to just three hits with six strikeouts and no walks in five innings. “She has been pitching well and has been consistent well,” Early said. “She has been pitching with more confidence than she did as a freshman and that has helped her.”

Early said the key to her success this season has been first pitch strikes.

“When you can get ahead in the count, that is always to the pitcher’s advantage,” Early said.

The Cotton Blossoms are back in GAC action this weekend at home against Southeastern Oklahoma State for a four-game series with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Friday.