The Buccaneers earned an 8-0 run-rule victory over the Cougars in a five-inning opener before holding for an 8-4 win in the finale.
Blinn is now 13-5 overall.
The doubleheader marked just the third and fourth time the Bucs have played since Feb. 24. Harsh weather conditions have wreaked havoc on Blinn’s schedule this spring, leading to the cancelation or rescheduling of numerous ball games, and head coach Rick Church said he was pleased to see his team find success despite the unpredictable nature of the season.
“It was important for us to get our first two wins in conference,” Blinn head coach Rick Church said. “It’s hard to stay fresh and sharp when you have so much down time between games, but our players have shown a lot of resilience to still come out and play hard.”
In the opener, the Buccaneer offense smacked 11 hits and cruised behind a two-hitter from freshman pitcher Peyton Welker.
Freshman Alayna Calvillo had three hits, including a pair of doubles, to go with five RBIs, and freshman Erynne Castillo had two hits (including a double) and scored two runs out of the leadoff spot. Sophomore Emily Kristynik doubled as part of a two-hit day, and sophomore Kenley Strange singled twice and scored twice. Sophomores Skylar Shanahan and Madeline Stephenson both doubled.
In the circle, Welker tossed a complete game in which she struck out seven Cougars with three walks.
In the finale, the Bucs survived the Cougars’ late-game rally thanks in part to a gutsy effort from sophomore pitcher Chloee Mason.
(Pictured: Blinn College’s Chloee Mason, left, and Caitlyn Stevens)
Mason started the contest and worked six sparkling innings but was called on to re-enter with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Freshman pitcher Camdyn Shugart allowed a run-scoring double and a two-run single before Church called Mason’s number once again.
Mason promptly fanned Coastal Bend’s Kelsey Perez on a called third strike to end it. She ended her day with 6 1/3 innings pitched and allowed five hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
“You get a lead and exit the game and you think the game is over, but sometimes things can get crazy in softball,” Mason said. “It was nerve wracking out there, but I was prepared. Physically, I just got myself right back in it, and when your coach has the trust in you to put you back in the situation, you just go out there with a lot of confidence. When there’s that trust, it helps you get through tough situations like that.”
The Blinn offense built a 7-0 lead before Coastal Bend scored an unearned run in the home half of the sixth.
The Bucs finished with 12 hits, including a 3-for-3 effort for freshman Haley Rust. She tripled and plated a run. Sophomore Caitlyn Stevens went 2 for 3 with four RBIs, including a two-run home run in the fifth. Shanahan and Calvillo had two hits apiece, and Calvillo and Kristynik each drove in one run. Kristynik had a double.
Blinn will resume region play with a doubleheader at 14th-ranked Galveston College beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 18, in Galveston, Texas.