April 28, 2013
CONWAY, Ark. - The Lamar Lady Cardinals suffered a heartbreaking 7-5 loss to Central Arkansas in a Southland Conference softball game Sunday.
Lamar (21-33 overall, 11-13 Southland) carried a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning only to see Central Arkansas win it on Melanie Bryant's one-out walk-off grand slam.
"That's a tough loss," Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. "We really needed that win.
Lamar took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on Beverly Corry's RBI double only to see Central Arkansas (35-16, 14-8) respond with two runs in the bottom of the first.
The Lady Cardinals tied in the fourth on Casey Cromwell's third home run of the season before the Bears regained the lead in the fifth inning on Melissa Bryant's RBI single.
The Lady Cardinals erupted for three runs in the sixth inning. Taylor Duck tied the game at 3 with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly for her first career RBI. Lamar took the lead when Central Arkansas first baseman Ashley Bowell couldn't handle Ashley McDowell's hard grounder. McDowell scampered all the way to third on the play as Tina Schulz and Cromwell scored to put Lamar up 5-3.
Schulz, who relieved starter Shannon Millman with one out in the first inning, retired the side in order in the sixth to preserve the 5-3 lead before running into trouble in the seventh. Schulz retired the first batter in the seventh before Central Arkansas loaded the bases with a single sandwiched between two walks to set up Bryant's heroics.
Cromwell, Jenna Holland Stephanie Meeuwsen had two hits apiece for Lamar, which is 1 1//2 games behind Southeastern Louisiana, who are tied for fifth place. The top six teams qualify for the Southland Conference Tournament.
Lamar closes out the regular season by hosting Houston Baptist ion a three-game Southland Conference series at Ford Park next weekend. The teams play a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday and a single game at 2 p.m. Sunday.
"We have to sweep if we hope to have a chance," Bruder said. "We are going to need some help as well."