Softball heads to McNeese for huge series

GO CARDINALS Pitcher Tina Schulz needs three strikeouts for 100 in her career.
GO CARDINALS
Pitcher Tina Schulz needs three strikeouts for 100 in her career.
GO CARDINALS

May 2, 2014

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BEAUMONT, Texas - For the second straight year, the postseason hopes of the Lady Cardinals come down to the final week of the regular season.

In 2013, the Lady Cardinals swept Houston Baptist with three straight walk-off wins at Ford Park to get into the Southland Conference Tournament as the No. 5 seed in Lamar's first season of softball since 1987. Now, Lamar faces the daunting task of needing at least one win at conference-leading McNeese State to have a chance at heading to the tournament next weekend in Hammond, La.

The Last Meeting
Lamar0
McNeese State5
April 21, 2013
Lake Charles, La.
Softball blanked by McNeese State
Shannon Millman's strong effort wasn't enough for the Lamar Lady Cardinals in a 5-0 loss to McNeese State in a Southland Conference softball game Sunday.

The series opens with a doubleheader at 5 p.m. Saturday with a doubleheader at Cowgirl Field before wrapping with a single game at 1 p.m. Sunday.

There is a scenario where Lamar (20-27 overall, 12-11 Southland) could get in despite being swept, and there is a scenario that would leave the Lady Cardinals out of the postseason even if they win one game this weekend. However, Lamar controls its own destiny, as the Lady Cardinals would be assured of a tournament berth by winning at least two games this weekend.

Lamar would get into the tournament without a win this weekend if Nicholls  gets at least two wins at Central Arkansas, Northwestern State wins at least one game against Southeastern Louisiana and the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at Houston Baptist series ends up with any result other than Houston Baptist winning just one of the three meetings.

With one win this weekend, Lamar would get in unless Central Arkansas sweeps Nicholls and Houston Baptist either wins the series against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi or is swept by the Islanders. Lamar, Central Arkansas and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi could end in a three-way tie for fifth place at 13-13. In that case, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Lamar would get the two spots based on head-to-head competition.

A win would also be the 100th victory in program history, when counting the wins compiled from 1983-87 into the mix.

"We put ourselves in this situation," Lamar coach Holly Bruder said of her team's six-game conference losing streak. "We have been swept two weeks in a row. Now we have to regroup and play every inning like it's the championship game."

McNeese State (35-15, 17-6) is already guaranteed to be the top seed in the conference tournament. The Cowgirls are 12-2 at home this season.

Both teams come into the weekend having suffered no-hit losses on Wednesday. Lamar was no-hit in the first game of a doubleheader loss at No. 24 Texas A&M, while McNeese State was no-hit in a loss at No. 17 Baylor.

Alanna DiVitorio leads the McNeese State offense with a .385 batting average. Ashley Modzelewski has team highs of 11 home runs and 42 RBIs. As a team, the Cowgirls are hitting .283.

Jamie Allred is the workhorse of the McNeese State pitching staff, posting a 23-7 record with a 1.45 ERA and two saves. Rachel Smith is 7-4 with a 1.65 ERA.

Beverly Corry, who had her streak of reaching base safely snapped at 20 games in the first contest at Texas A&M, leads Lamar with a .315 batting average and eight home runs.

Tina Schulz (9-13, 3.93) needs just three strikeouts to become just the third pitcher in Lamar history to fan 100 batters. Left-hander Shannon Millman (8-12, 4.91) holds the record with 224 strikeouts.

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