HOUSTON – The Sam Houston State Bearkats went head-to-head with a pair of nationally-ranked opponents to open up the season on Saturday, but came away empty handed at the hands of No. 13 Kentucky and No. 22 Oklahoma State at the Houston Invitational at the Cougar Softball Complex.
Sam Houston (0-2) struggled offensively against the Wildcats (1-2) in the opener, but had a number of opportunities in the day’s finale vs Oklahoma State (2-1). The Kats got two hits apiece from Sheridan Fisher and Tiffany Thompson, along with a solid seven-strikeout outing from true freshman Regan Dunn.
The Bearkats will get a quick respite and then be right back at it with two more games on Sunday in Houston. They will open up the day with an 11:30 a.m. against Illinois before the Kats close the weekend and the tournament with a 2:00 p.m. meeting with the host Houston Cougars.
No. 13 Kentucky 6, Sam Houston State 0 (Box Score)
The Kats struggled offensively and the No. 13 Wildcats were able to put up crooked numbers in both the third and fourth innings to hand Sam Houston a 6-0 loss in its season opener.
Sam Houston got singles from both Kayte Martinez and Brooke Malia in the first inning, but UK pitcher Meghan Schorman got out if the inning unscathed and then proceeded to retire each of the next 15 hitters she faced on her way to picking up the win.
Schorman struck out nine and walked just one in going the distance, outdueling the Bearkats’ Lindsey McLeod who was saddled with the loss. The senior righty struck out seven in 5.1 innings, but walked four and surrendered six runs – four earned – on eight hits.
The Wildcats got on the board in the third on a two-out, two-run double by Alex Martens and one inning later they tacked on two more, thanks in large part to one of three Sam Houston errors in the game.
Sam Houston managed to get a runner on in both the sixth and the seventh innings, but could do nothing with it. Meanwhile, UK added one more to its tally in the sixth on an RBI double by Katie Reed that chased McLeod from the circle.
Karina Sanchez then came in to make her Bearkat debut, retiring each of the two hitters she faced to end the rally in the sixth.
No. 22 Oklahoma State 3, Sam Houston State 0 (Box Score)
The Bearkats gave the No. 22 Cowgirls a scare, but could not take advantage of multiple scoring chances at the dish, leaving 12 runners on base in a 3-0 loss.
The defeat spoiled an otherwise strong debut by true freshman Regan Dunn who allowed three runs – two earned – with seven strikeouts in her first game on the collegiate level.
Sheridan Fisher and Tiffany Thompson each had a pair of hits, but of SHSU’s seven hits, none went for extra bases in the game. In all the Kats finished 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-5 with the bases loaded.
Oklahoma State starter Samantha Clakley twirled 6.0 innings for her first win of the year, but struck out just two and allowed nine base runners before giving the ball up to Logan Simunek who allowed a single to Thompson before getting the final three outs to pick up the save.
The Cowgirls used a Bearkat error to set up their first run of the game in the first on an RBI single by Taylor Lynch. One inning later they added on two more as Sydney Pennington opened the frame with a solo shot and Samantha Show delivered a two-out RBI double later in the inning to make it a 3-0 game.
Dunn, however, would keep the Bearkats in it, but the Sam Houston offense was not able to take advantage of multiple opportunities in the middle innings. The Kats stranded seven runners between the third and fifth innings, including squandering runners on second and third with one out in the third inning and having the bases loaded with just one out in the fifth.
Sam Houston had one final chance in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out on consecutive singles by Megan McDonald, Sheridan Fisher and Tiffany Thompson; however, Simunek responded with strikeouts of both Brooke Malia and Bailey White before getting Ashley Goetz to fly out on the first pitch she saw to end the game.