April 19, 2014
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BEAUMONT, Texas - The Lamar Lady Cardinals couldn't give their seniors the present they most wanted on Senior Day, as Lamar dropped a 5-2 decision to visiting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday.
Lamar suffered its fifth straight loss as the Lady Cardinals were swept at home for the first time in a three-game Southland Conference series. Lamar (19-21 overall, 12-8 Southland) sits alone in third place in the Southland, but just 2 ½ games ahead of Stephen F. Austin, which holds the sixth, and final, berth in the Southland Conference Tournament with six games remaining. The Lady Cardinals are at SFA for a three-game Southland series next weekend.
"That is a must-win series for us," Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. "We have to find a way to win at least two games next weekend."
Saturday's game was a pitcher's duel between Lamar's Tina Schulz and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi's Liz Carter over the first six innings. The Islanders (13-30, 8-12) took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a solo home run by Valerie Perez just inside the left-field foul pole.
That score stood until the seventh inning when the Islanders broke it open with four runs, with Jamie Jackson's two-run single capping the rally.
Perez, who tossed a one-hit shutout against Lamar on Friday, lost her shutout bid when Lauren Gambone belted a two-run pinch-hit home run, her fifth HR of the season.
Carter improved to 10-16 with the complete-game win, allowing six hits and striking out five. Schulz (8-11) took the loss, allowing seven hits and four runs, all earned, over 6 1/3 innings.
"I thought we did a good job of making adjustments against Carter," Bruder said. "Unfortunately we hit a lot of balls right at people, and they made some great defensive plays."
Perhaps no play was bigger than the catch center fielder Mickayla Cochran made as she crashed into the fence in straight-away center field to rob Schulz of extra bases leading off the fourth. Lamar would get two hits that inning, but the Lady Cardinals were left pondering what might have been had Schulz not been robbed.
Following the game, Lamar honored its four seniors: Schulz, Shannon Millman, Candyce Carter and Julianne Viator.
"Those four players took a chance on coming to a new program two years ago," Bruder said. "To start a program from scratch and be immediately competitive is almost impossible. These players made it happen."
The Lady Cardinals close out the home portion of their schedule by hosting Louisiana-Monroe in a non-conference doubleheader at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Lamar has a pair of three-game Southland Conference series remaining, traveling to SFA and first-place McNeese State over the finals two weekends of the regular season.
Bruder vows her team will be ready.
"You can slow us down, but you can't stop us," she said. "We are going to bounce back."