April 13, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas – Ashley McDowell hit home runs in both games to help the Lamar Lady Cardinals earn a split with visiting Southeastern Louisiana in Southland Conference softball action at Ford Park on Saturday.
McDowell’s two-run home run in the opening game proved to be the game-winner as Lamar (19-26 overall, 10-7 Southland) rallied for a 7-6 victory. McDowell had a solo home run in the nightcap, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Southeastern Louisiana’s school-record seven home runs as the Lady Lions 26-15, 9-8) claimed a 13-5 win.
McDowell’s homers gave her the team lead with nine, one ahead of Candyce Carter and Beverly Corry.
The split allowed Lamar to remain in a third-place tie with Sam Houston State, a game head of Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls in the standings.
“Sunday will be big,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “We know it won’t be easy, because Southeastern Louisiana can hit.”
Lamar had early leads of 3-0 and 5-3 in the opener only to see Southeastern Louisiana take a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the sixth. That’s when Lamar struck for its fourth straight come-from-behind conference win. Shannon Millman hit a two-out single and was replaced by pinch runner Lauren Gambone. Gambone didn’t have to do much running as she trotted around the bases ahead of McDowell, who crushed a home run to center field.
Millman (13-10) then re-entered the game to nail down her ninth conference win of the year. Millman also homered in the game, while Carter drove in two runs.
Lamar fell into an early 6-2 hole in the nightcap before cutting the Southeastern Louisiana lead to 6-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning with the bases loaded and one out, but Lamar couldn’t take the lead. Southeastern Louisiana put the game away with seven runs in the top of the sixth.
“I thought we were going to have another come-from-behind win when we cut it to 6-5,” Bruder said. “But it’s tough to always have to battle back.”
Schulz also homered in the game, but took the loss to fall to 4-10. Casey Cromwell drove in a pair of runs for Lamar.
Katie Doyle and Kayla Elswick had two home runs apiece in the second game for the Lady Lions. Rachael Hellyer (11-1) got the win, allowing eight hits and five runs, all earned in 4 1/3 innings. Taylor Bishop pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for her first save.
Tickets for Sunday’s game will be available at Ford Park on a cash-only basis starting at 1 p.m.