MONROE, La. – For the second straight day the Sam Houston State Bearkats split a pair of games at the ULM Mardi Gras Classic, dropping 2-0 decision to Northwestern State in the opener before blasting Grambling State 15-0 in just five innings in the finale at the ULM Softball Complex.
Freshman Casey Kauder tossed a complete-game shutout in the win over Grambling, while a nine-run bottom of the third blew the game open as the Bearkats (2-2) picked up their second win of the weekend and of the year.
Eight Bearkats picked up at least one RBI in the win after a tough first game that saw Northwestern State starter Mikayla Brown allow just three hits in a shutout effort of her own.
Northwestern State got 7.0 shutout innings from wining pitcher Mikayla Brown and pushed across single runs in both the second and third innings offensively, despite Atkinson holding the Demons to just three hits on the day with three strikeouts.
The Demons struck first in the second frame, taking a 1-0 lead on a solo home run from Emma Hawthorne with one out in the inning.
A Bearkat error with one out in the third set up another Demon score when Sidney Salmons reached base. Two batters later Kellye Kincannon shot a double into the right-center field gap to bring Salmons in from second, putting Northwestern State on top 2-0.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Sam Houston only managed three hits of their own against Brown, all coming from the top three spots in the lineup. Tori Koerselman, Megan McDonald and Codi Carpenter all picked up hits in the game, each finishing 1-for-3.
Atkinson, meanwhile, did not allow an earned run after the solo home run in the second inning and needed 109 pitches to get through her 6.0 innings. She walked just two and struck out three.
GAME 2 – Box Score
Sam Houston 15, Grambling State 0 – 5 innings
The Bearkats scored in all four of their trips to the plate in blasting Grambling, 15-0 behind a 12-hit onslaught and a shutout from Kauder.
Half of Sam Houston’s 12 hits went for extra bases, getting five doubles from five different players and a home run from Hannah Marino. Meanwhile, Kauder was nearly untouchable in picking up her first collegiate win. The freshman allowed just three hits in 5.0 innings of work, fanning five with just one walk allowed.
The Kats wasted no time getting out in front as Koerselman doubled to open the Sam Houston half of the opening inning and scored two batters later on a ground out by Carpenter. The Kats managed to put two more runners on base with two outs before a fielder’s choice ended the threat.
An inning later the Kats scratched the scoreboard again with Casey Sax starting the rally with a one-out double down the left-field line. A wild pitch moved her up a base before an error by the Grambling pitcher allowed her to score and push the lead to 2-0.
Sam Houston blew it open in the bottom of the third, scoring nine times on just six hits. Consecutive doubles by Carpenter and Megan Crosby started things and pushed a run across before Marino cleared the sacks with a two-run homer to left-center field.
Four walks and a single from Emily Bounds followed Marino’s blast with Sam Houston scoring twice on wild pitches and another on a passed ball before Jordan Franks delivered a two-run double to score both McDonald and Koerselman and give the Kats a commanding 11-0 lead after just three frames.
Two walks to start the inning opened the floodgates once again for the Kats in the fourth. Franks picked up her third RBI of the game with a one-out single to score Sax and Crosby followed with a sacrifice fly.
Marino followed that up with an RBI single of her own and one batter later Tiffany Thompson got in on the act with an RBI single to right field.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Marino got the start and delivered a monster game, going 4-for-4 at the plate with a homer and a pair of RBI. Meanwhile, Franks made the most of her two at-bats, reaching successfully both times and finishing with a double and a game-high three RBI.
Koerselman and McDonald combined to cross home five times from the top two spots in the lineup and Sax scored three times and walked twice from the nine hole while every Bearkat to receive a plate appearance managed to reach safely at least once.
The Bearkats will conclude the ULM Mardi Gras Classic on Sunday morning when they take on SIU-Edwardsville. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m.