Smack dab in the middle of a homestand against the three of the bottom four teams in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, the Arizona Western softball team extended its winning ways with a sweep Saturday of Chandler-Gilbert.
The Matadors steadily pulled away in Game 1 for a 7-3 win, then followed with an 8-0 win in six innings to win for the 13th time in their last 15 games. They swept last-place GateWay by a combined 26-0 on Tuesday.
“We knew that we had to get two wins today, and we did,” said Matador clean-up hitter Robyn Alvara, who drove in five runs in Game 2. “It could have gone smoother. It was hard for us to adjust to the different pitching. I was just excited to get the win.”
Alvara was 0 for 2 in the first game with an RBI and a run scored, but went 4 for 4 in the late game, leading off the second with her fifth home run of the year. She added RBI singles in the third and sixth and a two-run double in the fifth. She scored on a Madison Tracy walk in the sixth that ended the game due to the run rule.
“Robyn's been good at getting clutch hits for us lately,” AWC coach Nikki Bethurum said. “That's always definitely helpful.”
Briana VanSickle (12-4) picked up the win. After throwing two straight no-hitters, she didn't allow a hit until the sixth inning, a bunt single by Danielle Nelson.
“She's mixing well,” Bethurum said. “She's keeping the ball low when she needs to, and she's coming back with her high pitch. She's able to put the ball where she's supposed to, where the ball is supposed to be going.”
In Game 1, the Matadors (29-11 overall, 20-6 ACCAC) trailed 2-0 early. They took the lead in the third when Alvara flied to right to score Mariah Caro. April Marquez had a two-run double in the inning.
The Coyotes (6-22 overall, 5-21 ACCAC) tied the game in the fourth and chased starter Hayley Miller, who allowed seven hits and threw two wild pitches. But Courtnie Ploesch hit her fourth home run of the year in the bottom of the fourth, then Summer Ehrig added a two-run double in the fifth. For extra insurance, Ploesch hit another homer in the sixth.
“She's been struggling at the plate a little bit lately,” Bethurum said. “She's been hitting the ball hard, but it's been getting to people. It's nice to see her come out of that with two home runs, back to back.”
Jessica Leitner (6-1) picked up the win in relief, allowing two hits in 3 2/3 innings.
Next up for the Matadors is a home date with Scottsdale on Tuesday, which entered Saturday with the fourth worst record in the league.
“We came out here and did what we needed to do,” Bethurum said. “We weren't strong at every opportunity, but we did what we needed to do. We didn't play down to a level we shouldn't have been.”