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The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Hilltopper softball splits doubleheader, but drops series to Texas A&M – Kingsville

Emilio Casanova / Hilltop Views
Ella Hutzler rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning of St. Edward’s 5-3 win over Texas A&M – Kingsville.

The St. Edward’s University’s softball team drops their season-opening home series against Texas A&M University – Kingsville. The Hilltoppers and Javelinas competed in a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, SEU taking game one 5-1 while TAMUK took the second game of the day and series finale 6-4. 

Game one

There was a 36-degree plummet from the first pitch of Friday’s 76-degree game to Saturday’s 40-degree game, but the Hilltoppers’ bats heated up early. Arianna Vidales reached on an error by Javelinas shortstop Kayla Gonzales, and then stole second before Katie Dillon reached on an infield single. Audri Castillo knocked a two-run single to left field to put SEU ahead 2-0. Ensuing batter Ella Hutzler demolished a two-run homer to right-center field to double SEU’s lead.

Kylen Padgett started her fifth game of the year and settled in nicely after hitting Seleste Compian, the first Javelina batter she faced. She snuck out of trouble unscathed in the top of the fourth inning, leaving the bases loaded, but SEU’s luck ran out in the top of the fifth. Lisette Urquidez relieved Padgett after 4.0 innings pitched, five walks and two strikeouts. Urquidez struggled, facing three batters, surrendering a walk and two singles. She was quickly pulled for Cadie Belle Currie to come into the game and bring home a win for the Hilltoppers. She got her team out of the inning, clinging tightly to a 4-3 lead. Northeast Texas Community College transfer Hannah Boettcher, in her first career start on the hilltop, tacked on an important insurance run to make it 5-3 Hilltoppers.

Kylen Padgett released a pitch vs Texas A&M – Kingsville. (Emilio Casanova / Hilltop Views)

Currie slammed the door shut, tossing scoreless sixth and seventh innings, clinching the first home and conference win under head coach Hailey Post.

Game two

Closely resembling game one, Vidales quickly generated offense, getting on base with a single up the middle. SEU tapped into their small ball early on; Dillon moved Vidales up to second base with a sacrifice bunt. Castillo’s fly out to right field allowed Vidales to tag up and advance to third base. A wild pitch from TAMUK starting pitcher Elizabeth Montes allowed Vidales to score and make it 1-0 Hilltoppers. The Javelinas immediately responded with five runs off four hits and a walk in the top of the second inning. Currie again relieved Urquidez with two outs in the inning with TAMUK leading 4-1. Breana Carr scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-1 Javelinas in the second inning.

A single by Gonzales and a double by Ortiz set the table in the top of the fifth inning for Lindsey Evans to drive in a run on a groundout to third base to extend the Javelinas lead to 6-1. 

Montes shut out the Hilltoppers through four innings but ran into a jam in the fifth when Jerzie Pelham reached on an error by Javelinas’ third baseman Aaliyah Ortiz. Hilltopper Megan Morris followed up with a double off the left-field wall to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Sloane Hill pinch-hit Hailey Sonka in the nine-hole spot and came through in the clutch for Hilltoppers with a 2-run base hit up the middle to trim the deficit to 6-3. 

The St. Edward’s softball team celebrates Ella Hutzler’s home run at home plate. (Emilio Casanova / Hilltop Views)

In the sixth inning, Hutzler led off pulling a high fly ball off the left-field wall for a stand-up double. The following batter Lauren Hoyt reached on an error by Gonzales to put runners on first and third with no outs. Boettcher grounded out to the pitcher, bringing Charlotte Nuccio, Pelham’s courtesy runner, home. Hoyt attempted to go to third and reached safely on an errant throw by TAMUK first baseman Kaylynne Ruiz that ricocheted off Ortiz. When Hoyt took off for home plate, the left fielder Carr was already in position to back up a wild throw and threw out Hoyt at the plate for a 1-3-5-2 double play. The Javelinas held on to a 6-4 lead.

“You can tell that (St. Edward’s is) just trying to find their groove,” Texas A&M – Kingsville head coach Orlando Salinas said. “I can see they’re turning the corner and I’m glad that we’re done with them because I feel sorry for the team that plays them next.”

The Hilltoppers fall to 3-10 overall and 1-2 in Lone Star Conference play. SEU will be back in action this week hosting Oklahoma Christian University for their series that begins on Tuesday, Feb. 20.

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About the Contributor
Jack Connolly
Jack Connolly, Staff Writer
Jack is a junior from Omaha, Nebraska and this is his second year writing with "Hilltop Views" as a Staff Writer. He loves sports but will also write about music, social issues and politics.

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