(Pictured: Blinn College sophomore pitcher Chloee Mason, left, and freshman pitcher Peyton Welker)

The Buccaneers earned run-rule wins over Howard College, 14-0, and Garden City Community College, 8-0, and will finish the four-game tournament on Saturday.

“Our pitching did its job, and our hitting came through when we needed it,” Blinn head coach Rick Church said. “It was a good start for us, and it should give us some momentum for Saturday.”

In Friday’s opener, sophomore pitcher Chloee Mason set the tone with a three-run shutout. She tossed five innings in which she struck out 10 and walked two.

At the plate, Blinn went scoreless through the first two innings, but scored six in the third and erupted for eight more in the fourth.

Sophomore catcher Emily Kristynik‘s two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the third started Blinn’s rally. 

The Bucs finished with seven hits, with Kristynik leading the way with a 2-for-4 showing and four RBIs. 

Sophomore shortstop Kenley Strange drew two walks and plated a pair of runs, while freshman utility Alayna Calvillo, and freshman first basemen Alyssa Boozy and Haley Rust also tallied an RBI apiece. 

The Bucs drew 11 walks, with three of those free passes earned by freshman outfield Erynne Castillo.

(Pictured: Blinn College sophomore catcher Emily Kristynik)

In game two, Kristynik again provided the initial spark at the plate. She doubled in the first to drive in Castillo for a 1-0 lead before Boozy scored Kristynik on a sacrifice fly. 

Blinn went on to add a run in the third frame, three in the fourth, and two more in the fifth to finish the game.

Boozy and freshman infielder Madison Dorrow had two RBI apiece, and Calvillo and sophomore third baseman Caitlyn Stevens each drove in one run. 

In the circle, Peyton Welker continued the Bucs’ strong pitching day with five innings of three-hit ball. She walked two while fanning eight.

“We’re getting to a place where we can pitch an entire game and be effective,” Church said. “Opening the season with this kind of pitching is encouraging.”

Blinn will conclude the Island Invitational with a 10 a.m. tilt against No. 18 Lake Land College followed by a 12:30 p.m. matchup against Navarro College. 

Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 42 NJCAA national championships since 1987.