Softball drops doubleheader at SFA

GO CARDINALS Brynn Baca had a hit in each game for Lamar.
GO CARDINALS
Brynn Baca had a hit in each game for Lamar.
GO CARDINALS

April 26, 2014

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NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Lamar Lady Cardinals saw their hold on a Southland Conference Tournament berth grow incredibly tenuous on Saturday after suffering a doubleheader sweep at the hands of host Stephen F. Austin by scores of 8-0 and 5-0.

Lamar (20-24 overall, 12-10 Southland) fell into a third-place tie with Northwestern State, while Stephen F. Austin, Houston Baptist and Central Arkansas all gained ground on the Lady Cardinals. The top six teams qualify for next month's Southland Conference Tournament in Hammond, La. Lamar has just four conference games remaining: Sunday at SFA and next weekend at league-leading McNeese State. The Lady Cardinals have lost five straight conference games and eight of their last nine overall.

"It's frustrating," Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. "This is the time of year when you have to be playing your best softball, and we're not doing that."

The Lady Cardinals were held to just seven hits on the day. Carlie Thomas twirled a two-hitter in the opener before Brittany Lewis tossed a five-hitter in the nightcap. Brynn Baca had a hit in each game for Lamar, while Ashley McDowell had two hits in the second game.

Lamar catcher Beverly Corry drew two walks in the opener and had a hit in the second game to extend her streak of reaching base safely to 19 games, one shy of the school record set by Stephanie Meeuwsen earlier this season.

In the opener, Stephen F. Austin (20-24, 11-10) led 2-0 after three innings before breaking the game open with a six-run fourth inning off Lamar starter Tina Schulz (9-12). Cadie Weaver had a two-run single and Shalie Day added a two-run double in the inning.

Thomas (13-12) set down Lamar in order in the top of the fifth to end the game via the mercy rule. Lamar stranded seven runners in the game, as the Lady Cardinals were unable to take advantage of five walks and two hit batters.

"We had our chances," Bruder said. "But we are not coming through with the big hits when we need them."

The Lady Cardinals stranded six more runners in the second game, as they were once again unable to capitalize on opportunities. Lamar had a glorious chance to open the scoring in the third inning as Baca doubled and McDowell singled to open the inning, putting runners on first and third with no out. Lewis retired the next three batters to keep LU off the board.

That seemed to five the Ladyjacks some confidence, as they plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. SFA put the game away in the fifth inning thanks to a three-run triple by Day, who finished with four RBIs in the game.

Shannon Millman (8-11) took the loss, allowing six hits and five runs, all earned, in 4 1/3 innings. Lauren Dannelley pitched 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for Lamar.

The Lady Cardinals are in third place, a half-game ahead of both Northwestern State and SFA, who are 11-10 in conference play. Houston Baptist and Central Arkansas are tied for sixth at 11-12, 1 ½ games behind Lamar. Southeastern Louisiana is 10-13 and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is 9-13.

"We have to win Sunday," Bruder said. "We have to come out and want it more than they do."

Sunday's game, which was originally scheduled for 1 p.m., has been pushed ahead to 11 a.m. due to the forecast of inclement weather in the Nacogdoches area later in the day.

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