Suns Boost Tourney Hopes With Sweep

With its softball season on the line, Arkansas Tech came through in a big way on Sunday.

The Golden Suns (22-22 overall, 12-14 Gulf South Conference) defeated Delta State 2-1 and 4-0 at the Chartwells Women’s Sports Complex to move from fifth place to a share of second place in the GSC West Division standings with one week remaining in the regular season.

Only the top four teams in the final GSC West standings will move on to the GSC Softball Tournament, which is scheduled for April 30-May 2 in Southaven, Miss. The Golden Suns are attempting to qualify for that event for a third consecutive year.

Tech took a 1-0 lead in game one Sunday thanks to a sacrifice fly by Dana Stephenson in the bottom of the third inning.

Tiphani Moon made it 2-0 with a solo home run to right field in the fourth inning. It was Moon’s 11th home run of the season, breaking her own single-season school record. Moon hit 10 home runs in 2009.

Tech starting pitcher Chelsea Evanoff made it through four innings unscathed. The Lady Statesmen got a run in the top of the fifth on a wild pitch, and DSU’s Crista Richard followed with a double that put the tying run at second base.

That was when head coach Gidget Pambianchi went to her bullpen for Sarah Taylor, who came on to pitch two and one-third innings of scoreless relief to earn her second save of the season.

Evanoff (11-10) surrendered just two hits over four and two-thirds innings.

Moon and Amy Kilpatrick did early damage for the Suns in game two. Moon recorded an RBI double and Kilpatrick hit a two-run homer to give Tech a 3-0 lead after one inning.

Stephenson added an RBI triple in the second inning to make it 4-0, and from there, it was all Morgan Rodgers.

The Arkansas Tech right-hander tossed a six-hit shutout as the Suns completed a key GSC sweep.

Delta State had taken two from Tech on Saturday to put the Suns’ postseason hopes in peril.

The sweep on Sunday lifted Tech into a tie for second place in the GSC West with Henderson State. The Lady Reddies (23-24, 12-14) went 1-3 against GSC West Division champion Arkansas-Monticello (44-9, 21-5) over the weekend.

Delta State (27-25, 13-17) sits in fourth place, and its regular season is over.

Ouachita Baptist (32-20, 11-15) is in fifth place, but the Lady Tigers finish their regular season next weekend with a four-game series against last-place Christian Brothers (16-26, 5-17).

Henderson State also has a favorable remaining schedule. It is scheduled to conclude its regular season by playing a four-game series against Southern Arkansas (10-29, 6-16) on Saturday and Sunday.

Arkansas Tech will conclude its regular season by hosting Arkansas-Monticello next weekend. The Golden Suns and the Cotton Blossoms will play two games beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday and a doubleheader beginning at noon Sunday.

Admission to the Chartwells Women’s Sports Complex will be free.