Hines, Willmon shine as CU sweeps ENMU
On a blustery afternoon with winds gusting to 40 mph at McMahon Field, the Cameron softball team nearly blew its Lone Star Conference opponent, Eastern New Mexico, all the way back to Portales as the Aggies notched a pair of dominant victories, defeating the Greyhounds 8-0 and 6-2 in the doubleheader.
A pair of complete games on the mound, courtesy of Bethany Hines and Rylee Willmon did the trick. Hines (11-5) set a career-high 11 strikeouts while pitching a complete game shutout and facing just two batters over the minimum.
Hines tossed six scoreless innings in the 8-0 win, and her counterpart, Willmon, played copycat in the second game. Willmon (12-6) threw six scoreless innings before surrendering two in the seventh of Cameron's 6-2 win.
"Bethany and Rylee were really solid again today," Cameron coach Dennis Furr said. "Those two have pitched so well all season and give us a chance to win every game. Their numbers are incredible."
Indeed, the numbers are impressive, as Hines and Willmon each tout an ERA hovering just over 2.00. Coupled by sound defense, Furr said he hasn't had to make very many changes.
Offensively, Cameron kept chipping away with its axe by out-hitting ENMU, 19-6, and creating a constant flow of insurance runs, carving two holes too deep for Eastern New Mexico to climb out of. Cameron (24-11 overall, 12-8 LSC) aims for the series sweep today, hosting Eastern New Mexico (16-25, 8-15) at 2 p.m.
Game 1 Cameron 8, ENMU 0
Well before the wind reached peak strength, Bethany Hines utilized her off-speed weapon, the changeup, to keep Greyhound batters off balance and limiting them to two hits while fanning 11.
"Her changeup is a devastating pitch at this level, and at any level. Bethany was dominant with it today," Furr said. "Early in the year, we thought like we might be tipping it some, but the last couple weeks, it has carried the same effectiveness that it did last year. We can throw it in any count, and she has great control of it."
Offensively, a strong start at the plate allowed Cameron to never look back. The Aggies scored two runs in the first and tacked on three in the second. CU added three in the fifth and sixth innings courtesy of a pair of sacrafice flies.
Callie Busby, who drove in two runs, got the run parade started with her RBI-single in the first before Abby Warren dug herself out of a tough 1-2 count to walk in a run with the bases loaded. Warren, who went 2-for-2 with 3 RBIs, picked up where she left off in her second at-bat.
In another tight count, this one full, Warren singled up the middle to drive in two runs.
Although she did plenty on the mound, Hines, who went 2-for-4, delivered an infield RBI single to push CU to a 5-0 lead after two innings.
The Aggies, who tallied nine hits, carved up Leslie Reyes (7-11) who lasted only two innings, surrendering 5 runs, two of which were earned on four hits and three walks.
Game 2Cameron 6, ENMU 2
Insurance is a valuable asset to have, and the Aggies got plenty of it in the 6-2 win.
While Willmon was putting out batters left and right, Cameron kept tacking on runs, adding one in the second third and fifth innings.
"When the wind is blowing in, it's hard to score runs, so you're trying to take chances and get runs when you can get them," Furr said. "You're not playing for the big inning of course you'd like to have one. You know runs are at a premium, but with a good pitching staff, you know that you're in good shape if you manufacture a run every couple innings."
Willmon surrendered two runs and three of her four hits in the seventh inning but had a one-hit shutout going through six. Willmon only threw 60 pitches through five, an efficient 12 pitches per inning and earned one of her five strikeouts to catch a Greyhound looking at the end of the fifth.