The Arizona Western softball team needed a sweep of the fifth-best team in the country to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The Matadors didn't just get the sweep. They did it in style.
Avenging a pair of losses last week, the Matadors beat Central Arizona 12-2 and 10-0 in a pair of five-inning games Tuesday at the AWC softball field.
The Matadors blasted five home runs in just eight innings. Robyn Alvara and April Marquez homered in the first game, while Morgan Paul and Summer Ehrig homered in Game 2 along with Alex Roman, who hit a grand slam.
Hayley Miller (16-9) won Game 1 and Briana VanSickle (17-8) won Game 2 to give the Matadors a pair of 16-game winners for the first time since 2006. VanSickle threw a three-hitter.
The wins over the Vaqueras (43-10 overall, 37-9 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) leave the Matadors (39-21, 30-16) two back of Eastern Arizona for the fourth an final spot in the NJCAA Region I Division I Tournament, to be hosted by Central.
Eastern and AWC close the season against one another, with a Matador sweep putting them into the postseason.
“It's nice to see our hitting come back in a timely fashion,” coach Nikki Bethurum said. “There was no question that our backs were against the wall, and it was encouraging to see our entire team respond the way they did. It's also nice to have a lot to play for in our regular season finale, and for those games to be at home.”