Tiler Noyola was just trying to keep the rally going. The sophomore outfielder didn’t plan on having one of the most memorable hits in Temple College’s most dominating conference win of the season Tuesday afternoon.
She just didn’t want to record the third out.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the third inning of TC’s doubleheader opener with Weatherford, Noyola’s line drive toward the gap in right-center field rolled past the outfielders to the wall and drove in three runs before Noyola got the green light from head coach Kristen Zaleski at third base to go home. Noyola turned the corner and slid head first into home plate for an inside-the-park grand slam that propelled the Lady Leopards over the Lady Coyotes, 22-4, in a five-inning, run-rule victory at Danny Scott Sports Complex.
TC earned the sweep with a 9-1, six-inning win that secured the Lady Leopards’ fifth victory in a six-game homestand.
“I wasn’t trying to do too much, just put the ball in play,” said Noyola, who went 3-for-4 with six RBIs in the opener. “I really thought it was going to be a double, maybe a triple, but I saw (Zaleski) waving her hands and I thought, ‘Oh, shoot.’ So I just kept going.
“Once I rounded third, I had a pretty good feeling that I was going to be safe.”
Even more special for TC (37-9, 21-5 Northern Texas Junior College Athletic Conference), Noyola’s grand slam wasn’t the only one of the game — or the inning.
Madilyn Weatherly hit a one-out grand slam down the left-field line to turn an 8-3 lead into a 12-3 advantage and start a nine-run third inning for the Lady Leopards. Mackenzie Bartlett followed with an RBI single, Morgan Doucet was plunked by a pitch, and Alyssa Escamilla singled to load the bases before Noyola’s slam.
TC tallied 18 hits in the opener and batted around in its final three trips to the plate. Escamilla (3-for-4), Noyola and Savanna Parker (3-for-3) combined to go 9-for-11 with three extra-base hits at the top of the lineup ahead of cleanup hitter Daisy Gonzalez, who finished 3-for-5 with a double and five RBIs.
“We split the last series against Weatherford, with the loss coming on a walk-off home run,” Gonzalez said. “We wanted to prove that we could sweep these guys and redeem ourselves.”
Weatherford (28-16, 16-10) scored three runs in the first inning of Game 1 on an RBI double from Eliza Eberhard and a two-run single from Kristin Kamnick, before Gonzalez drove in Noyola and Parker with a single in the bottom of the first. The Lady Leopards scored six runs in the second and nine in the third.
Weatherford’s Morgan Page hit a home run in the fifth, before TC starter Breanna Hernandez struck out two of the final three Coyotes she faced. Hernandez (17-2) struck out 10 over five innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks.
Weatherford, which entered the day tied for second in the conference, continued to have trouble scoring in Game 2. Taylor Gruell threw four innings for TC and allowed Weatherford’s only run and a hit with six strikeouts. Gruell walked the bases loaded to start the fifth before giving way to Marley Hilton, who struck out four and retired six of the seven batters she faced while allowing one walk.
TC secured a 1-0 lead in the first when Weatherly singled home Noyola, and consecutive two-out doubles by Parker, Gonzalez and Weatherly made it 3-0 in the third. Four runs came across in the fifth and the mercy-rule was invoked in the sixth when Lenzi Stewart plated Gonzalez from third on a ground out.
Temple travels to Vernon (29-13, 16-8) for a doubleheader at noon Friday.