Softball swept by McNeese State

GO CARDINALS Candyce Carter had three hits for Lamar.
GO CARDINALS
Candyce Carter had three hits for Lamar.
GO CARDINALS

May 3, 2014

Box Score

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LAKE CHARLES, La. - For the second straight year, the Lamar Lady Cardinals' season comes down to the final day of the season.

The Lady Cardinals find themselves needing a win at Southland Conference leader McNeese State on Sunday or a Central Arkansas loss to visiting Northwestern State to earn a berth in next weekend's Southland Conference Tournament.

Last season, Lamar got into the tournament with a walk-off win over Houston Baptist in the final game of the season.

"We just have to do what we did last season," Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. "We're going to keep fighting until the final out."

Lamar (20-29 overall, 12-13 Southland) saw its Southland Conference streak reach eight games after dropping a doubleheader at McNeese State by scores of 9-1 and 9-0 on Saturday, with both games ending early because of the mercy rule. Meanwhile, Central Arkansas split with Nicholls on Saturday to move to 12-13 in conference play as well, putting the Lady Cardinals and Bears into a tie for the sixth and final spot in the tournament. Lamar holds the tie breaker over Central Arkansas by virtue of sweeping the three meetings between the teams.

Lamar took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the opener thanks to Casey Cromwell's eighth home run of the season. That was the only run McNeese State starter Jamie Allred allowed, as she scattered six hits over six innings, striking out five.

McNeese State (37-15, 19-6) responded with three runs of its own in the bottom of the first and never looked back. The Cowgirls scored in every inning but the second, ending the game via the mercy rule on Stacey Conley's pinch-hit solo home run.

Tina Schulz (9-14) took the loss, allowing six hits and five runs, four earned, over three innings. Shannon Millman allowed seven hits and four runs, three earned, in 2 1/3 innings of relief.

Things got away from the Lady Cardinals quickly in the nightcap, as McNeese State scored four runs without getting a ball out of the infield in the first inning, as the Cowgirls took advantage of three Lamar errors.

Lamar never recovered, getting just three hits off or Rachel Smith (8-4). The Cowgirls added four more runs in the third and one in the fourth. The game ended after the top of the fifth due to the mercy rule.

Lauren Dannelley (3-3) took the loss, allowing 10 hits and nine runs, four earned, in four innings.

Candyce Carter had three hits on the day for Lamar.

Sunday's game against McNeese State starts at 1 p.m. The Nicholls at Central Arkansas contest is set for a noon start.

"We definitely need to clean up our defense," said Bruder, who saw her team make at least one error for the 16th straight game. "Our pitching and defense has to keep us in games and our offense has to come through to help us win."

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