Softball heads to Northwestern St. for SLC series

GO CARDINALS Ashley McDowell's six HRs this season are one shy of the school record.
GO CARDINALS
Ashley McDowell's six HRs this season are one shy of the school record.
GO CARDINALS

March 28, 2013

Lamar's Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

BEAUMONT, Texas - It may still be March, but the Lamar Lady Cardinals are already playing crucial series when it comes to the Southland Conference softball standings.

Lamar (14-19 overall, 5-4 Southland) has one of those crucial sets this weekend as it travels to Northwestern State (24-7, 5-3) for a three-game series starting Friday. The Lady Cardinals are in a four-way tie for third in the conference, just a half-game behind Northwestern State, which is in sole possession of second place.

"It's a really big series," Lamar coach Holly Bruder said. "We want to finish in the top six and qualify for the conference tournament. Playing well this weekend would really help us do that."

Lamar took two out of three from Sam Houston State last weekend, winning both ends of a Saturday doubleheader before dropping the finale on Saturday. That dropped Sam Houston State into a seventh-place tie with Nicholls at 4-5, one game behind the four teams tied for third.

Northwestern State swept last-place Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on the road last weekend to move to within two games of conference-leading McNeese State.

"Northwestern State is playing really well," Bruder said. "They do everything well. They don't make a lot of mistakes."

Left-hander Shannon Millman (8-8, 4.51, 1 save) and right-hander Tina Schulz (4-6, 3.52) continue to handle the bulk of the pitching chores for Lamar. Millman leads the conference with 26 appearances and is second in innings pitched with 108. Schulz is tied for ninth in the conference with 17 appearances. The two have combined to pitch 179 2/3 of the 208 2/3 innings the Lamar staff has worked this season

"Shannon and Tina have done a great job handling the workload," Bruder said. "We're going to need a big weekend from both of them."

The Lady Cardinals are hitting .260 as a team, led by center fielder Candyce Carter, who is hitting .375 with five home runs and 15 RBIs. Jenna Holland is hitting .291 with one homer and 15 RBIs. Ashley McDowell leads the team with six home runs, one shy of the school record of seven, set by Donna Dugas in 1987, Lamar's last season of softball before now.

Northwestern State, which had its five-game winning streak snapped in an 8-0 loss at Louisiana Tech on Wednesday, has a .318 team batting average. Tara McKinney leads the team in hitting at .387. Cassandra Barefield has a team-best nine home runs and is tied with Brianna Rodriguez for the team lead in RBIs with 28.

All three games this weekend will be broadcast live at www.LamarCardinals.com. Following the weekend series, Lamar has a non-conference doubleheader at Houston at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday before hosting Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in a three-game conference series that gets under way with a 2 p.m. doubleheader April 6 at Ford Park.

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