Softball stunned by SFA

GO CARDINALS Ashley McDowell had three hits for Lamar.
GO CARDINALS
Ashley McDowell had three hits for Lamar.
GO CARDINALS

April 27, 2014

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NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Lamar Lady Cardinals suffered their most heartbreaking and devastating loss of the season as Stephen F. Austin rallied for five runs in the bottom of the seventh to claim an 8-7 win in a Southland Conference softball game Sunday.

The loss, Lamar's sixth straight in conference play, dropped the Lady Cardinals (20-25 overall, 12-11 Southland) into fifth place in the conference heading into the final week of the season. Lamar is a half-game ahead of sixth-place Houston Baptist and one game ahead of seventh place Central Arkansas with three games remaining. The top six teams qualify for the Southland Conference Tournament.

Things don't get any easier for the Lady Cardinals, who travel to league-leading McNeese State next weekend for the final three conference games.

"We have to get at least one win and hope for some help," Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. "We've gone from being in first place to being on the brink of missing the tournament. We just have to go to McNeese and play our best softball of the season."

Lamar would guarantee itself of a tournament berth by winning at least two games next weekend.  The Lady Cardinals could get in with no wins or one win, but they would need some help to do so.

Sunday, Lamar had its chances of salvaging the final game of the series against SFA, building a 5-0 lead after two innings and leading 7-3 after five innings.

Lamar sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning, rapping out six hits in the frame with Stephanie Meeuwsen's two-run single highlighting the frame.

Stephen F. Austin (21-24, 12-10) scored three unearned runs in the third inning off of Lamar starter Lauren Dannelley. The Ladyjacks took advantage of a two-out throwing error to cut into the Lamar lead.

The Lady Cardinals came back with two runs in the fifth inning thanks to a sacrifice fly by Tina Schulz and an RBI single by Ashley McDowell, who was 3-for-3 with two RBIs on the day.

SFA opened the seventh inning with three straight hits off Dannelley to cut the Lamar lead to 7-4. Schulz came on in relief of Dannelley to face Katelyn Standley, who promptly reached on an error that allowed two runs to score, cutting the LU lead to 7-6. Brittany Lewis followed with a single off Schulz, but center fielder Candyce Carter gunned down Standley to keep Lamar in the lead.

Shannon Millman (8-12) came on to face Elizabeth Arana, who was 0-for-3 on the day, but Arana crushed a change-up over the left field fence for a two-run walk-off home run.

Carlie Thomas (14-12), who tossed a two-hitter against Lamar in a five-inning win Saturday, allowed 10 hits and seven runs, five earned, over seven innings to get the win Sunday.

Casey Cromwell had two hits for Lamar. Beverly Corry had an RBI single in the second inning to run her streak of reaching base to 20 straight games, tying Meeuwsen's school record.

"We've had trouble finishing games all season," Bruder said. "It came back to hurt us today."

Lamar is at 23rd-ranked Texas A&M for a doubleheader at 4 p.m. Wednesday before heading to McNeese State for a twin bill at 5 p.m. Saturday and a single game at 1 p.m. Sunday.

"We've got a tough week ahead," Bruder said. "I'm hoping we respond to the challenge."

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