MONROE, La. – The Sam Houston State Bearkats opened up the 2017 season by splitting a pair of games on Friday, falling to ULM 12-0 before rallying to take down Prairie View A&M 7-5 in the day’s finale at the ULM Softball Complex.

Lindsey McLeod picked up the win and drove in a pair of runs in the finale, aiding a 12-hit attack against the Panthers after an opening game that saw ULM break out for a pair of big innings to lead to its 5-inning victory.

GAME 1 – Box Score
ULM 12, Sam Houston 0 – 5 innings
The ULM Warhawks exploded for a pair of big innings in the first and third to take a 12-0 win over the Bearkats in just five innings in the tournament opener.

Lindsey McLeod took the loss for Sam Houston, allowing five runs on four hits in just 0.2 innings of work. She was one of four pitchers to see time in the circle, with Jordan Franks putting forth the most effective effort with 1.1 scoreless frames.

Melanie Coyne picked up the win for ULM, allowing just two hits with a pair of strikeouts in 5.0 strong innings.

Bottom 1st
ULM took advantage of six hits, scoring five runs in the opening frame After Lindsey McLeod struck out Sydney McKay to open the inning, ULM followed with a bunt single and a hit by pitch to set up Jayden Mount, who homered to left field to open the scoring. Two batters later, after a single by Vanessa Garcia, Coyne launched a home run of her own, chasing McLeod from the game in favor of Tayler Atkinson and putting the Warhawks on top 5-0.

Bottom 3rd
ULM put together another big inning in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of six hits and a pair of Bearkat errors to plate seven. A one-out double from Hunter Hogan started the scoring in the third, and after another Bearkat pitching change, consecutive errors pushed across two more. An RBI ground out and a pair of RBI doubles followed, giving the Warhawks a commanding 12-0 lead after just three frames.

The Bearkats collected just two hits in the game, the first coming from sophomore Codi Carpenter with a two-out single in the top of the first. Ashley Goetz also delivered a two-out double in the fourth.

GAME 2 – Box Score
Sam Houston 7, Prairie View A&M 5
The Bearkats rallied for seven runs in the final five innings after allowing a five-run second to take down Prairie View A&M, 7-5, for their first win of the season.

Bottom 2nd

The Panthers only needed one hit to score five times in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a Bearkat error and a wild pitch. After two of the first three hitters reached, A. Garcia delivered a two-run double to give Prairie View a 2-0 lead. One batter later a Bearkat miscue plated another Panther run and they were able to push two more across on a bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch.

Top 3rd
It did not take long after that for the Kats to get on the scoreboard as Tiffany Thompson bunted her way on base for the first ofher three hits in the game and promptly got into scoring position by swiping second base. That set things up for Tori Koerselman to bring her home, which she did with a two-out single.

Top 5th
The Kats cut the lead to 5-3 with two more runs in their half of the fifth. Thompson opened things up with a single to left and pinch hitter Hannah Marino followed by reaching on a Panther error. But it was Lindsey McLeod who delivered the big hit with a two-out, two-run single to center field as the Kats cashed in and cut the lead to two.

Top 6th
Sam Houston was able to go on top in the sixth, plating three runs on just two hits. Again, a leadoff hit started things off, this time from Megan Crosby and another error gave the Kats something to work with. Crosby would come around to score on another Panther error to trim the lead to 5-4 before Koerselman knotted things at 5-5 with a single to left. One batter later freshman Megan McDonald delivered the go-ahead run with a grounder to shortstop that plated Samantha Belongia.

Top 7th
Crosby delivered a one-out triple down the left-field line to give the chance for the Kats to add an insurance run in the seventh, and Katie Andrie made that opportunity pay off with a single one batter later.

Freshmen Crosby and Thompson each delivered three hits apiece to lead a 12-hit Bearkat attack, scoring twice each. Koerselman had a pair of hits and two RBI, as did McLeod.

McLeod also was stellar in the circle, entering in relief in the second inning and firing 5.2 innings with just one hit allowed and two strikeouts to earn her first win.

The Bearkats will continue the ULM Mardi Gras Classic on Saturday with two more games, starting at 11 a.m. when they take on league-rival Northwestern State before concluding the day with a 3 p.m. game against Grambling State.