BRENHAM, Texas – Blinn College softball and Coastal Bend College played a close game in the doubleheader finale until the Buccaneers ran away with five runs late in the game to take a 12-6 victory on Saturday afternoon at Hohlt Park.
Coastal Bend College picked up an 11-6 victory in the doubleheader opener to split the pair. With the split, Blinn moves to 22-12 overall and 11-3 in Region XIV play.
"We had to learn our lesson the hard way in the first game and so we just kept getting base hits until we finally got some run production," said Rick Church, Blinn head coach. "I think we finally just got tired of not competing and that's when we started producing our runs."
Coastal Bend 11 – Blinn 6
Blinn and Coastal Bend manufactured plenty of hits in the doubleheader opener, but it was the Cougars that came out on top, 11-6.
Coastal Bend managed just one more hit than Blinn after totaling 14, but it was an eight-run seventh inning that proved the difference to end the Buccaneers' four-game win streak.
The Buccaneers kicked right into gear starting the first inning with a 1-0 lead after Tori Alvarez-Lopez hit a triple and then scored on an error.
Coastal Bend College arrived on the board in the third inning to even the score 1-1.
The Buccaneers pulled ahead 2-1 in the fourth inning after Morgan Gray hit a double that allowed Olejniczak to score.
The Cougars took the lead for the first time in the sixth inning after scoring two runs to lead 3-2.
However, Blinn immediately answered back in the bottom half to even the score 3-3 after Olejniczak scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Alvarez-Lopez.
Coastal Bend took off with the lead for good in the next inning after scoring eight runs.
Blinn attempted to come back in the bottom of the inning as Gutierrez, Alivia Villarreal and Amy Alexander strung together three hits to lead off the seventh. Alexander hit a double that allowed Gutierrez to come home, while Birch and Chelsea Armendariz each knocked in runs with singles for Blinn to gain on the Cougars, 11-6. However, Coastal Bend managed to get the next two outs to end the inning with two Buccaneers left on base.
Blinn 12 – Coastal Bend 6
Although Coastal Bend carried the momentum from the first game into the doubleheader finale, the Buccaneers were able to manage all 12 of their runs in the final three innings to defeat the Cougars, 12-6.
Gutierrez was perfect at the plate after going 3-for-3 and driving in one run, while scoring one run. Courtney Ogle led the Buccaneers with three runs scored and three RBIs after hitting a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Gabriela Gomez and Makalah Norman each drove in two runs in the win.
"I knew I needed to do whatever would help my team out, so that is what I really focused on and it helped me with my hits," said Gutierrez, who managed five hits in the doubleheader. "We definitely had a little more motivation toward the end and finally started stringing hits together and worked as a team, so it paid off."
Kassidy Rhoudes picked up the win in the circle after surrendering only two earned runs, while striking out four in 5 2/3 innings. Meghan Morris recorded the save after not allowing a hit or run in the final 1 1/3 innings.
Coastal Bend kept the momentum rolling into the second game of the day by jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. In the fourth inning, the Cougars tacked on another run to hold a 4-0 lead.
The momentum begin to shift in Blinn's favor after the Buccaneers managed to even the score 4-4 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Ogle and Sarah Cedillo were the first to score for Blinn on the same error. Amber Langston and Gutierrez each hit a one-run single in the inning to level the score.
Coastal Bend added one run in the fifth inning to pull back ahead 5-4, but the Buccaneers answered back with three in the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Gomez sparked the offense with a single and later scored on an error. Norman followed with a two-run single for Ogle and Cedillo to score and Blinn to lead 7-5.
The Cougars scored their final run in the sixth inning to tighten in on Blinn's lead, 7-6. The Buccaneers ensured the victory with five insurance runs in the sixth inning. Gomez drove in the first two runs with a single, while Ogle finished off the game with a three-run homer.
The Buccaneers will compete in the final home games of the season on Sunday, April 8 when they take on Laredo Community College in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. at Hohlt Park. Earlier in the season, Blinn defeated Laredo by the scores of 17-3 and 8-0.
"We are trying to finish these last two home games out strong so it is nice that we got this gritty win today and can carry it over," Gutierrez said.
Blinn has competed in intercollegiate athletics since 1903 and captured 36 NJCAA national championships since 1987.