Softball returns in grand style
Feb. 9, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas - Hollywood couldn't have scripted it any better for the Lamar University softball team.
The Lady Cardinals, playing their first games since 1987, debuted in grand style Saturday by sweeping a doubleheader from UTSA by scores of 3-2 and 7-5 in front of a packed-in crowd at Ford Park.
The first game was a story of redemption for Lamar's Ashley McDowell, who hit a walk-off home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning for the win, just minutes after her throwing error allowed UTSA to tie the game in the top of the seventh.
"She had tears in her eyes after the error," Lamar coach Holly Bruder said of McDowell. "I told her to forget about it, and just like that, she hits the game-winner."
McDowell's heroics overshadowed a strong outing from starter Shannon Millman, who scattered six hits for a complete-game victory. Millman walked five and struck out three, while allowing just one earned run.
The Lad Cardinals struck first in the bottom of the second inning when Candyce Carter hit the first home run in Lamar's era with a towering blast off of UTSA starter Haylee Staton.
In the second game, Lamar took advantage of some UTSA wildness, as the Roaders walked eight batters and hit two more. Lamar had just four hits on the game, the big one a two-run home run by Beverly Corry. Tina Schulz allowed 10 hits in a complete-game victory, walking four and striking out four.
The Lady Cardinals led 6-0 after four innings, but UTSA rallied with three runs in the fifth and two more in the seventh to make it interesting.
"It feels excellent to start with two wins," Bruder said. "These girls exceeded my expectations. Were these two games easy? No. In two minutes that game could have easily shifted."
Alyssa Vordenbaum started and took the loss for UTSA, allowing four hits and four runs over three innings. Jolene Graham pitched three innings of hitless relief, but walked six and allowed three runs, one earned.
Lamar and UTSA are scheduled to wrap up the series with a single game at 2 p.m. Sunday at Ford Park.
"Sunday is what we call no holds barred. You're going to see subs and pitchers we haven't seen. We have to be ready."
Tickets for Sunday's game will be available at Ford Park on a cash-only basis.