March 23, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas – The Lamar Lady Cardinals broke out of their hitting funk in a big way Saturday, crushing six home runs en route to a doubleheader sweep of visiting Sam Houston State in a Southland Conference softball doubleheader at Ford Park.
The Lady Cardinals (14-18 overall, 5-3 Southland) blasted three homers in a 9-4 win in the opener before hitting three more in the nightcap, a 5-4 victory in eight innings.
“We were hungry,” said Lamar first baseman Ashley McDowell, who hit three homers on the day. “We know we hadn’t been hitting the ball as well as we should have, and we focused on changing that today.”
McDowell hit two home runs in the opening game, both solo blasts, while Candyce Carter added a two-run shot as the Lady Cardinals snapped their three-game skid while ending the three-game winning streak of Sam Houston State (15-17, 3-5).
McDowell, Carter and Tina Schulz each had two RBIs for Lamar, giving starter Shannon Millman more than enough support. Millman allowed seven hits and four runs, all earned, in a complete-game win.
Tiffany Castillo hit a two-run homer for Sam Houston State in the first game.
McDowell’s biggest home run of the day came in the second game as she hit a one-out homer in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game at 4. That came after Sam Houston State scored two unearned runs in the top of the seventh to take a 4-3 lead just minutes after Beverly Corry’s second homer of the game gave Lamar a 3-2 lead with a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth.
“We showed some character in that second game by bouncing back after we fell behind late and after making four errors,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “Four errors isn’t usually a good formula for winning games, but I like the way we overcame that.”
The Lady Cards claimed the win when pinch-runner Taylor Duck
scored on a two-out error in the bottom of the eighth when shortstop Tiffany Castillo couldn’t handle Casey Cromwell’s grounder.
Millman (8-7) picked up the win in relief, allowing two hits over 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Lamar starter Tina Schulz allowed nine hits and four runs, one earned, over 6 1/3 innings.
“I think it’s great that Shannon bounced back and got two wins after having a rough start at Texas Southern,” Bruder said. “She gave us a great effort today. And Tina really battled out there after missing the last few days due to illness.”
Tori Benavidez, Cecilia Castillo, Ashley Isbell and Jessica Slater had two hits apiece for Sam Houston State in the second game.
Lamar will go for its first-ever three game conference sweep when it hosts Sam Houston State at 3 p.m. Sunday at Ford Park.
“When you win the first two games it takes a lot of pressure off you,” Bruder said. Sam Houston State is the one with all the pressure,”
Tickets for Sunday’s game will be available at Ford Park on a cash-only basis one hour prior to first pitch.