Golden Suns win their second conference series in a row

RICCI LOGAN/ THE ARKA TECH ARCHIEVES The Suns play Southeastern Oklahoma this upcoming weekend at Chartwells Sports Complex

The Golden Suns picked up three wins this weekend against East Central in Ada, Oklahoma picking up their second consecutive conference series win.

In the first game of the series on Friday, the Suns were led by Cabot native Megan Goodnight. In the first inning, Goodnight hit a two-run homerun, scoring Fort Smith native Paige Mendoza to give the suns a 2-0 lead. In the second inning, Goodnight again singled home Gabi Vasquez, of Lewisville, Texas, to extend the Tech lead to 3-0. The Suns scored another run in the fourth and won by a score of 4-0. Goodnight picked up her eighth victory of the year. She pitched a seventh inning shutout, giving up only four hits, walking three and strinking out one.

In the night cap, the Suns had to weather a late rally from ECU. In the first inning, Goodnight doubled home Mena native Bailey Bunch to put Tech up 1-0. In the second, Ashton Sangster of Van Buren scored Celina, Texas native Janie Knowles and Frisco, Texas native Sarah Coronado to extend the Suns lead to 3-0.

Later in that inning, Vasquez hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Sangster. A couple of batters later, Goodnight singled home Bunch to make the score 5-0. In the third inning, Tulsa, Oklahoma native Mackenzie Addis hit a solo homerun to make the score 6-0, Tech leading. In the fifth, Bunch hit a sacrifice fly to score Knowles to give Tech a 7-0 lead.

ECU scored six runs in the fifth, sixth but Goodnight shut the door on the Tigers rally and picked up her eighth save of the year. Bailey Shaffer of Guthrie, Oklahoma picked up her seventh win of the year pitching one third of an inning of scoreless softball giving up no hits walking no one and striking out one.

In the first game of the doubleheader on Saturday, the Golden Suns rallied but fell just short. In the first inning, ECU jumped out to a 2-0 lead. In the third inning, the Suns scored a run after Sangster scored on a couple of throwing errors by ECU to make the score 2-1, ECU. The Tigers scored a run in the bottom half of the inning and ECU led 3-1 after three innings. In the sixth inning, Knowles hit a solo homerun to make the score 3-2, ECU leading. The Suns tried to rally in the seventh but fall just short and lost 3-2.

In the night cap and final game of the series, the Golden Suns’ offense exploded. Just like in the first game on Saturday, the Tigers made a quick 1-0 lead after one inning. In the third inning, ECU scored three runs and extended their lead to 4-0. In the fourth inning, Addis hits a solo homerun to score Goodnight to make the score 4-2, ECU leading. In the fifth inning, Vasquez hit a two-run homerun, scoring Sangster. Two batters later, Mendoza hit a solo homerun to give Tech a 5-4 lead. The Tigers tie the game at five in the bottom half of the inning. ECU scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, giving the Tigers a 8-5 lead going into the top of the seventh inning.

In the top of the seventh inning, the rally started with Haley Womack of Bixby, Oklahoma, singling home Goodnight. The next hitter, Ashley Landry of Krum, Texas, singled home Knowles and Coronado to tie the game at eight. The rally continued when Bunch drew a two-out-bases-loaded walk, scoring Shaffer, to give the Golden Suns the lead, 9-8. Then the next batter, Mendoza, hit a three-run single scoring Landry, Vasquez and Bunch to cap off a seven-run rally in the seventh to make the score 12-8.

In the bottom half of the seventh, Goodnight picked up her ninth save, pitching a scoreless inning and the Suns picked up their third conference series weekend win. After this weekend’s series win, the Golden Suns are 26-10 overall and 17-7 in GAC play, putting them in a three-way tie for second place in the league standings with Southeastern Oklahoma and Harding.

The Golden Suns play Harding in a two game rivalry series on Tuesday in Searcy with that doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. They then play Southeastern Oklahoma this upcoming weekend at Chartwells Sports Complex with Friday’s doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. and Saturday’s doubleheader starting at noon.