Ulysses met up with league foe Holcomb on the Longhorns’ home turf Tuesday, with the teams splitting the GWAC doubleheader.
Ulysses picked up its first in of the season in the first game, 13-1, which was also Holcomb’s first loss of the season.
But the home ‘Horns turned things around in game two, winning 10-6.
In the first game, Ulysses pounded out 16 hits in its offensive outburst, scoring seven runs in the fourth inning to take an 11-0 lead that led to a run-rule ending.
Holcomb managed just seven hits, scoring a lone run in the fifth, as KaSandra Gonzales got the win.
It was a different start in game two as Holcomb plated three runs in the first and four in the second off Gonzales.
That came after the Tigers picked up a run to open the game after starting with three singles, with the run coming on Gabby Gutierrez getting hit by a pitch from Sydney Faulconer, who took the loss in game one.
The senior and her defense settled down after that, with the Tigers going down in order in the second, third and fifth innings.
Ulysses scored three runs in the fourth, but Holcomb responded with one in the fifth and two in the sixth, the final runs resulting from two Tiger errors.
Holcomb had 10 hits to Ulysses’ seven to get the win and advance to 6-1 this season.
For Holcomb coach Jennifer Barrett, it was some lessons learned from the lopsided loss and a credit to her girls for rebounding in game two.
“We’ve been hitting the ball real solid, and I still feel like we hit the ball well in game one,” she said. “They just made some great defensive plays and we left some runners stranded at time and didn’t necessarily have that timely hit.”
Because her team has been hitting so well, Barrett thought it allowed her defense to play a bit more relaxed, which led to being lax in the first game. Game two was a huge improvement.
Holcomb sent seven batters to the plate in the first inning and nine in the second, resulting in four hits, seven walks and the seven runs.
“That’s just a result of stroking the ball and getting the timely hits and bring them in,” Barrett said.
This was Faulconer’s first outing pitching two full games, and Barrett was happy with her senior.
“We’ve been working on the little things, trying not to give up those walks.”
For Ulysses coach Rick Cue, the first win of the season, especially over a quality opponent, was more than a feel-good story.
It was an indicator of what he sees his team becoming.
“We looked really good at times with our first game. I think that’s what we can do,” Cue said, emphasizing the “can do” phrase.
“Second game, we kind of hit the ball at them and not really hard, and they hit gaps,” he added. “That was the difference in the game. We’d mount a comeback and they’d make a great play.”
One example was the sixth inning in game two with bases loaded, and Gina Ballesteros hit the ball hard—right at her counterpart Eboni Sapien at shortstop.
“Six feet either way and we score two, maybe three,” Cue said.
Game one is what this team “can do,” he said.
“Pitching has been our problem, throwing strikes. Today our pitchers were getting better,” he said. “We’ve got good people in the right slots. Once we get some experience, we’re trying to get better every day.
Holcomb will finish a rain-delayed game against Colby at home Friday, with the ‘Horns leading 9-1 in the first inning of game two.
Ulysses (1-5) will face Southwestern Heights and Goodland next week.