April 14, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas – Ashley McDowell capped off an impressive weekend with a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth to lead the Lamar Lady Cardinals to a 5-4 win over Southeastern Louisiana in a Southland Conference softball game at Ford Park on Sunday.
McDowell went 8-for-10 on the weekend as the Lady Cardinals (20-26 overall, 11-7 Southland) took two of three games from the Lady Lions (26-16, 9-9) to remain tied for third in the conference. McDowell had the game-winning home run in Lamar’s 7-6 win over Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday.
“Ashley had a tremendous weekend,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “She has come through for us in big situations all season.”
McDowell’s hit drove in Casey Cromwell, who led off the eighth inning with her second double of the day. Cromwell had been mired in a 1-for-17 slump before getting two hits on Sunday.
“We had a number of people step up today,” Bruder said. “I’m happy for Casey. She works hard and it paid off today.”
Left-hander Shannon Millman (14-10) went all eight innings for Lamar, allowing five hits and four runs. She walked four and struck out six as she improved to 10-3 in the conference. Millman was the winning pitcher in both of Lamar’s victories this weekend.
“Give Shannon a ton of credit,” Bruder said. “It’s tough mentally to come back after getting the win on Saturday. She did a great job today.”
The Lady Cardinals, who improved to 4-0 in extra-inning games, jumped into a 3-0 lead in the first inning, taking advantage of a Southeastern Louisiana error to score three runs, with Julianne Viator’s two-run single the big hit. Lamar increased its lead to 4-1 in the third on an RBI double by Cromwell before the Lady Lions fought back to tie the game.
Megan Moore, who homered in the second for Southeastern Louisiana hit a two-run homer in the sixth before pinch-hitter Tori Sheppard crushed a two-out homer to left-center in the seventh to tie the game.
Millman settled down and set the Lady Lions down in order in the eighth inning to set the stage for McDowell’s heroics.
Taylor Bishop (4-6) took the loss in relief for Southeastern Louisiana, allowing five hits and one run in 4 1/3 innings.
The Lady Cardinals host Texas Southern in a non-conference game at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Ford Park before traveling to league-leading McNeese State for a three-game Southland Conference series on the weekend.
“We put ourselves in good position by taking two of three,” Bruder said. “We have two tough road series ahead (McNeese State and Central Arkansas). We have to keep the momentum going.”