Buckaroos sweep DH to drop Wave
Now that the Lady Wave witnessed the ugly side of softball, it would like nothing more than to forget about last weekend’s series against second-place Lowry.
With all eyes on Fernley and Fallon battling for state supremacy this season, Lowry snuck into the big picture after sweeping Saturday’s doubleheader in Fallon to take control of the No. 1 spot in the Division I-A after losing the first game of the series on Friday at the Edward Arciniega Athletic Complex.
“We weren’t getting on the same page. We had breakdowns from defense, pitching and offense,” Fallon coach Bill Archer said. “We had errors. We had situational errors. It’s not inclusive of the type of team we are.”
After Fallon dominated Game 1 with an 11-3 victory on Friday, Lowry wasted no time evening the series as it jumped to an early 6-0 lead to win the first game on Saturday, 12-4. The Buckaroos broke a 3-3 tie in the second game of the afternoon to win 7-3.
Archer said he was surprised how Fallon responded on Saturday, adding that the two home losses were uncharacteristic of his team.
“There was a lack of focus, not to take anything whatsoever from Lowry,” the second-year coach said. “They’re scrappy team. They were in second place.”
Lowry improved to 13-2 in league while Fallon dropped to 12-2 and traveled to third-place Fernley (9-2) on Tuesday. Lowry takes on Truckee for a three-game series this weekend before traveling to Fernley next week. The Lady Wave will be on the road for the next two series with Dayton this week and Sparks next week before closing the season at home against South Tahoe in three weeks.
Errors on defense and mental mistakes on the base paths cost Fallon a chance to winning the nightcap on Saturday.
With Kayla Buckmaster responding to a better start after allowing five runs in Saturday’s first game, she kept Lowry in check as Fallon trailed 3-1 heading into the fifth inning. Fallon loaded the bases, setting the stage for sophomore Megan McCormick, who belted a game-tying two-run double.
The Buckaroos, though, bounced back with a four-run sixth inning in part to a plethora of extra-base hits.
But the Lady Wave were not phased heading into the home half of the inning as they loaded the bases with no outs.
Fallon grounded to second where Lowry missed the tag on Miranda Ford heading into second. Lowry recorded the putout at first for the first out of the inning but confusion plagued the base paths. The field umpire didn’t signal whether Ford was tagged out, leading to Fallon scrambling along the base paths, which Lowry took advantage to nail Gabby Sharpe at home for the second out. Lowry recorded the third out on the next batter to escape the bases-loaded jam.
“There was some confusion. It turned into a mess,” Archer said of the sixth-inning base-running blunder. “You stay on the bag until the umpire has cleared you and it’s clear that you’re out. That was a huge potential inning to score a lot of runs and lack of focus on base-running cost us. We’re not making excuses. Nobody’s panicking in this dugout.”
Buckmaster recorded the only multi-hit game with two singles as Nicole Mariezcurrena, Courtney Cross, Paige Thorn, Ali Tedford and Ford each singled. Megan McCormick tied the game with a two-run double in the fifth inning.
Buckmaster went the distance, allowing 14 hits and four earned runs. She also walked five but struck out two and gave up a home run.
Unlike the final game of the series, Fallon dug itself into a big hole early to begin the doubleheader.
Lowry jumped to a five-run lead in the first inning and tallied another run to go up 6-0 in the third inning when Fallon scored its first run. Fallon scored three unanswered to pull the game to within two (6-4) but the Buckaroos erupted for six runs in the final frame.
Thorn and Tedford each had three singles to lead Fallon while McCormick, Cross, Kayla Buckmaster, Kalyn Huckaby, Ford and Rileigh Ricken each had one hit. Ford’s solo home run was the team’s only extra-base hit as McCormick and Ricken each drove in a run.
Errors cost the Lady Wave in the first game of the doubleheader as they committed two that accounted for nine unearned runs.
Buckmaster picked up the loss, allowing five unearned runs in the first inning. Ford and Ricken relieved the freshman hurler, with Ford allowing three earned runs after facing three batters. Ricken pitched the final six innings and allowed four unearned runs.
“Our pitcher was struggling hitting location spots. It was quite the mixture with errors and hits,” Archer said of Saturday’s first game. “The wheels started coming off and Ricken keeps it 6-0. We didn’t get a bunch of run support. We had base-running errors. Ultimately, we didn’t play a solid game. “
The Lady Wave showed they were the team to beat in the North after its 14-hit showing in Friday’s series opener.
McCormick was perfect in four plate appearances as she came a triple away from hitting for the cycle. The sophomore drove in three runs and scored twice.
Ricken and Buckmaster each hit solo home runs, while Tedford drove in a run on three hits. Mariezcurrena doubled, singled and scored twice as Fallon pounded out 14 hits. Ricken’s blast gives her 15 on the season after breaking the career record last week in Elko. Korey Ellis tallied 13 home runs last decade when Fallon competed in the Division I.
“It’s all mental. I go up to the plate and I just try to get on a base,” said Ricken, who pitched a complete game, striking out four and walking three. “I never go up trying to hit a home run. As a leader, my team counts on me to produce something and make something happen so whether that is being walked, hitting a single or an RBI, or a home run, then I’m happy.”