PASADENA, Texas – Two out of three is a pretty good start for Blinn College softball on the first day of the San Jacinto College Softball Tournament. After opening the tournament with a 4-0 loss to Temple College, the Buccaneers bounced back to beat Murray State College 13-4 and Hill College 7-4 Friday.
By going 2-1 on the day, Blinn improves its record to 6-6 overall on the season.
Temple 4 – Blinn 0
Blinn was unable to get any runs on the board in its opening game as Temple took advantage for a 4-0 victory.
The Buccaneers managed just five hits and Shelby Achille was the only player with an extra-base hit when she hit a double in the fourth inning.
Colleen Bentke took the loss in the circle but pitched a solid seven innings and gave up three earned runs on eight hits while striking out three.
Blinn 13 – Murray 4
Blinn had a strong and consistent offensive performance in the second game to bounce back after being shut out in the first game to beat Murray 13-4.
Emily Noah brought in three runs to lead the Buccaneers with just one single as well. Morgan Gray hit a single and a triple and brought in a pair of runs. Kalli Edwards, Achille, Calli Birch, Makalah Norman, Chelsea Armendariz, Gabriela Gomez and Katy Sawyer each had an RBI in the win.
Sam Junkin benefitted from all the run support to earn the victory in the circle. Junkin gave up four runs in the first inning but settled in to finish the game with six scoreless innings while striking out three.
Blinn wasted no time getting on the scoreboard and Noah drove in a pair with a double to center for a 2-0 lead. Birch brought in a run with a double of her own to right for the third run. Armendariz earned an RBI ground out for a 4-0 lead and Gomez capped the scoring with an RBI single to center for a 5-0 lead. The lead nearly disappeared with Murray scoring four in the bottom of the first to get within 5-4 of Blinn after an inning.
That would be the final runs allowed by Junkin for Blinn and the Buccaneers tacked on more runs for their pitcher. Nicole Garcia started the second inning by getting hit by a pitch and then scored after a fielder's choice hit by Noah made the score 6-4.
Garcia started it again in the fourth, this time she used her bat to get on base with a single. Garcia later scored on a single by Achille to make the score 7-4. Birch was able to reach base on a single in the fifth inning and came in to score after a sacrifice fly by Sawyer gave the Buccaneers an 8-4 lead.
Blinn really piled on the insurance runs in the seventh inning and it started with back-to-back singles by Alivia Villareal and Gomez. Both players scored after a two-run triple by Gray to make the score 10-4. Edwards kept the scoring going with a double to left for the 11th run and then she later scored on an error for the 12th run. Norman capped the scoring with an RBI single up the middle for a 13-4 lead that would hold up until after the final out.
Blinn 7 – Hill 4
Blinn was able to finish the day off with a winning record after holding off Hill to earn a 7-4 victory.
Noah had the hot bat again with two RBIs with a single and a double. Sawyer and Amy Alexander each drove in a run while Garcia added a double and single to contribute to the offense.
Achille got the start in the circle and earned the victory after five innings complete and only allowing two earned runs with four strikeouts. Kamryn Boucher came in to clean up the final two innings and only allowed a run while striking out one.
Hill jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning but it didn't last long as Blinn went to work in the third. Garcia got it started with a walk and later scored the tying run after a single by Sawyer up the middle to make it 1-1. Edwards, Achille and Sawyer later scored on an error to take a 4-1 lead. Hill countered with two in the bottom of the third to get within 4-3.
Blinn went after some much-needed run support in the seventh inning. Garcia and Edwards hit back-to-back singles with one out and both scored on a double by Noah to make the score 6-3. Alexander followed two batters later and nailed an RBI single to right for a 7-3 lead. Hill scored one in the bottom of the seventh but Blinn would hang out for the three-run victory.
Blinn will play two more games in the San Jacinto College softball tournament on Saturday, Feb. 11. The Buccaneers begin with a game against Murray at 10:30 a.m. an then close the tournament against Hill at 3 p.m.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 34 NJCAA national championships since 1987. For more information, visit www.buccaneersports.com.
About Blinn College
With an enrollment of 19,422 students, Blinn ranks among the nation's leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu.