Adams State College
LAS VEGAS – Adams State sophomore Katelyn Lovato continued the hitting show that she started last year as she extended her consecutive games hitting streak to 40 games on Friday at Majestic Park.
Lovato tied the NCAA Division II record previously set by Danielle Monson for Central Washington last year. Lovato went 5 for 9 on the day, including a 2 for 4 effort in Grizzlies’ 15-6 season-opening win against St. Edward’s (Texas) and was 3 for 5 in the second game in which the Grizzlies won 16-8 against Upper Iowa. Both games, part of the Desert Stinger Classic, were 5-inning run-rule wins.
Her older sister, senior Jaycee Lovato made an impact of her own as she tied the Grizzlies’ NCAA Division II-era (1993-Present) record for home runs in a game as she hit two dingers in the second game. She also broke the Grizzlies’ NCAA Division II-era record for most RBIs in a game as she had eight, four of which came on a third-inning grand slam.
Katelyn Lovato’s hit streak wasn’t the only one for the Grizzlies. Jaycee Lovato and junior Rebecca Lindquist each hit safely in both games and have improved on their multiple-season consecutive hit streaks to 18 and 15 games, respectively. Jaycee Lovato is now sitting in third place in ASC’s record book while Lindquist has moved up to a tie for seventh place.
The whole team stepped up big on the offensive side of the game, and it showed early.
In the first inning of the win against St. Edward’s, Lindquist got the Grizzlies’ first RBI of the season out of the way early as she nailed double to chase Katelyn Lovato from third after she reached on a throwing error. Sophomore Alexis Gallego walked before redshirt freshman Kristen Payne walked to set up a bases loaded situation for freshman Stephanie Dunham, who was able to make her first official at bat of her college career a memorable one. She blasted a 1-2 pitch to dead center field for a grand slam to put the Grizzlies up 6-0.
The Hilltoppers, who fell to 2-3 with the loss, battled back in the bottom half of the inning as they tapped senior pitcher Sarah Lindquist for four runs.
That did not slow down the Grizzly offense as Katelyn Lovato had her first hit of the season when she blooped a triple down the left field line. After a Gallego walk, Rebecca Lindquist blasted a line drive that bounced off the top of the left field fence and back into the field of play, scoring Lovato.
Payne used her power later in the inning as she blasted a homer over the left field fence and when it was all said and done, the Grizzlies were up 11-4 heading into the bottom of the second.
After a Hilltopper run in the bottom of the inning that made the score 11-5, neither team would score in the third of fourth frames. The Grizzlies finally put the final touches on the game as Gallego hit a 3-run double before she scored on a passed ball to put the Grizzlies up 15-5 before another single Hilltopper tally in the bottom of the fifth was not enough to stop the run-rule from being implemented.
Sarah Lindquist got the win as she allowed six runs on eight hits and four walks while striking out two.
In the second game, Katelyn Lovato wasted little time in tying the record as she was able to lay down a slap bunt to the shortstop and beat the throw to first base on the first play of the game against Upper Iowa.
Jaycee Lovato than got started to work on her record as she was able to get a 2-run single before Dunham and Rebecca Lindquist pushed two more runs to put the Grizzlies up 4-0 after the top of the first.
The fact that the Grizzlies got an early lead did not stop the Peacocks (1-1) as they jumped on senior pitcher Marissa Elsberry in a hurry and tacked five runs on the board to take a 5-4 lead.
But the Grizzly offense did not stay down for long as it tacked on four runs in its half of the second inning, including two homers. The first was a 2-run homer by Jaycee Lovato to bring her RBI total up to four runs at that point, while Payne followed with a first-pitch homer to center field.
With the Grizzlies up 8-5 headed into the bottom half of the second inning, a shaky Elsberry gave up some early base runners before head coach Dervin Taylor elected to bring in freshman Taylor Johnson to minimize the damage.
The damage was minimized as only three runs scored and the game was tied at eight heading into the third inning.
Freshman Jennie Archambault singled to center field, while Katelyn Lovato had a bunt single before Gallego had a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. Rebecca Lindquist put down a bunt and was safe after the pitcher decided not throw the ball and allowed a run to score.
With the bases loaded, Jaycee Lovato blasted the ball to left center field to break the former team record of seven RBIs in a game, a feat that had happened three times before, mostly recently by Heather Ebert in 2008. With the homer, the Grizzlies took a 12-8 lead after 2 ½ innings.
In the top half of the fourth inning the Grizzlies stayed with the theme as they put up a 4-spot for the fourth consecutive inning. After a single by sophomore DJ Consonero, junior Melinda Velasquez came in to pinch run. Katelyn Lovato was the next batter and she was able to blast a line drive to the right center field wall. The speed of Velasquez and Lovato put pressure on the defense as they flew around the bases and with an offline throw to home plate, Velasquez scored. Katelyn Lovato, who was already at third, saw the ball get away and took off for home and slid in safely before the a tag could be applied.
Jaycee Lovato and Rebecca Lindquist got on base to set up a 2-run double by Payne to finish the game’s scoring.
Johnson, who got her first career win, shut down the Peacock offense as she went only gave up two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out three in four innings of work.