KWU Softball opens KCAC play splitting with Friends

A pair of extra-inning games for the Kansas Wesleyan softball team as the Coyotes opened KCAC play on Saturday with the Friends Falcons at the newly improved Salina South High School fields. Friends would win the opener 4-1 in nine innings, while the Coyotes came back to earn a 3-2 win in eight innings in the nightcap.

The split keeps Wesleyan’s record at .500 at 8-8 overall and 1-1 in the KCAC. Friends is now 11-10 overall and 2-2 in the KCAC after splitting its second straight Kansas Conference series.

Both games were battles in the circle. Carmen Angulo (JR/Long Beach, Calif.) tossed two gems for the Coyotes in the split.

In the opener, neither team scored until the fourth inning. An error in the top of the fourth allowed Friends to keep the inning going and produce a run, but in the bottom of the inning, Lauren Blue (SR/Arlington, Texas) singled to lead things off then went to third on a sacrifice by Jessica Vegely (SR/Mariposa, Calif.) then scored on Kiana Turner (SO/Quapaw, Okla.)’s sacrifice fly.

Friends threatened to take the lead in the top of the seventh, but Angulo would get a strikeout to leave a runner at third. KWU led off the seventh with a single by Sydney Brown (JR/Tucson, Ariz.), but the Coyotes could not get a run across, forcing extra innings.

After Friends failed to score in the top of the eighth, it was again the Coyotes’ turn. Bailey Rivas (FR/West Covina, Calif.) was the tiebreaker runner at second and moved to third on Angulo’s sacrifice. After a walk to Katlyn Acosta (SO/Simi Valley, Calif.), Blue popped one out to center and Rivas tried to score but was thrown out at home.

Friends took advantage of another error in the ninth by the Coyotes to plate three runs. The Coyotes had a chance in the bottom of the inning, but could not get a run across.

Blue was 3 of 4 in the game, leading the way as KWU had five hits in the game. Angulo was masterful in the circle, allowing four runs, two earned on nine hits while striking out eight with no walks.

In the second game, the Coyotes jumped out to an early lead. Blue led off the bottom of the first with a double, then scored on a fielder’s choice by Brown.

The Coyotes added a run in the second as Vegely singled to score Acosta who singled earlier in the inning.

Friends got a run in the fifth, and then tied in the seventh to again force extra innings. A clutch doublel play to open the top of the eighth, ended any chance for Friends to score.

Then it was Wesleyan’s turn. A sacrifice bunt by Vivian Millan (FR/Grand Prairie, Texas) moved Miranda Guerrero (SO/Oxnard, Calif.), the tiebreaker runner to third, and Angulo would end the game with a sac fly to right that scored Guerrero.

Angulo scattered six Friends hits in eight innings for the complete game win, allowing two runs with a walk and a strikeout. Blue and Acosta led KWU’s offense with two hits each.

The Coyotes return to action on Wednesday, hosting Saint Mary at 2 p.m. at Salina South.