May 4, 2013
BEAUMONT, Texas – Call them the Cardiac Cards.
The Lamar Lady Cardinals swept a Southland Conference doubleheader from visiting Houston Baptist on Saturday, using a walk-off home run in each contest to claim victories of 4-3 and 8-7 at Ford Park. The wins kept Lamar alive for a berth in next weekend’s Southland Conference Tournament.
Ashley McDowell hit the game-winning blast in the opener, a solo that that was her second homer of the game to give Lamar the win in the opener. Candyce Carter hit a two-run homer in the nightcap as Lamar bounced back after giving up a grand slam to Mac Christensen in the top of the seventh inning that gave Houston Baptist a 7-6 lead.
“These kids just never give up,” Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. “Give Ashley and Candyce credit. They go up there looking to hit home runs. They’re not looking to get a walk.”
McDowell also homered in the second game, giving her 12 on the season. Carter, who was 2-for-3 in both games, had four RBIs in the second contest to give her a team-leading 31 on the season.
With the sweep, Lamar 23-33 overall, 13-13 Southland) can still grab a Southland Conference Tournament berth on the final day of the regular season. Lamar would get in with a win on Sunday and a Stephen F. Austin victory over Southeastern Louisiana and/or a McNeese State doubleheader sweep at Nicholls. If Lamar loses on Sunday, it would only get in with a McNeese State sweep of Nicholls.
“We did what we needed to do in the doubleheader,” Bruder said. “That kept us alive. Now we just have to go out and play another big game on Sunday.”
In the opener, Lamar took a 1-0 lead in the third inning on a McDowell home run. Houston Baptist (15-26, 6-19) erupted for three runs in the top of the sixth on a three-run home run by Melissa Herman. Lamar tied it in the bottom of the sixth inning when Jenna Holland drew a bases-loaded walk and Tina Schulz was hit by a pitch with the sacks full.
That set the stage for McDowell’s heroics, making a winner of Shannon Millman
, who allowed five hits and three runs over seven innings.
In the second game, Lamar staked Schulz to a 6-2 lead heading into the seventh inning before HBU got to Schulz in the seventh. Schulz allowed four hits in the seventh inning before departing with a 6-3 lead with the bases loaded and one out. Millman came on to get Daniella Rodarte to pop up for the second out. Millman seemed to be out of the jam when she got Christensen to pop up, but McDowell couldn’t get a handle on the pop-up as it landed in foul territory to give Christensen a second life. She made the most of it, belting the grand slam to straightaway center field and seemingly putting a big dent in Lamar’s tournament hopes.
“I told them that it wasn’t over, that they had to keep their heads up,” Bruder said. “That’s exactly what we did.”
Stephanie Meeuwsen opened the Lamar seventh with a single up the middle and Carter followed with her game-winning home run off reliever Kendall Stiefel (5-6), setting off a raucous celebration on the field as “Shout” blared over the loudspeakers.
Millman was credited the win, boosting her season record to 16-14.
Lamar goes for the series sweep at 2 p.m. Sunday at Ford Park. Tickets will be available at Ford Park on a cash-only basis one hour prior to first pitch.