MONROE, La. – Freshman Megan Crosby hit a go-ahead, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth but SIU-Edwardsville responded with eight runs in the top of the seventh to walk away with an 11-5 win over Sam Houston State on Sunday in the finale of the Mardi Gras Classic at the ULM Softball Complex.
The Kats (2-3) out-hit the Cougars (5-0) 11-9 for the game, but gave up seven of those hits in the final frame. Haley Chambers-Book picked up the win in relief for SIU-E as the Cougars completed a perfect 5-0 weekend, while Tayler Atkinson was saddled with the loss for the Bearkats.
SIU-E got a run in the first as Alyssa Heren started things off by reaching on a hit-by-pitch and promptly stealing second. Two walks loaded the bases and Allison Smiley picked up an RBI when she became the second Cougar to be hit by a pitch.
Sam Houston took the lead with a pair of runs in its half of the second, starting its rally with a single from Casey Kauder and a Cougar error. Ashley Goetz got the first run home with an RBI single to score Kauder and Samantha Belongia got one more home a batter later with an RBI fielder’s choice to give the Kats a 2-1 lead.
A one-out walk was costly to the Kats in the fourth as Amy Hunt scored the tying run on a two-out double from Conner Cutright.
The Bearkats answered with a run in the fourth to re-take the lead. An error, a single by Koerselman and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases with just one out. The Cougars were able to get pinch hitter Hannah Marino to pop out, but Codi Carpenter picked up an RBI with a bases-loaded walk one batter later to put the Kats back in front 3-2.
Chambers-Book drew a leadoff walk to open the Cougar fifth and pinch runner Jane Smith quickly moved to third with a swipe of second and a ground ball. That set up Reagan Curtis who grounded out to shortstop to bring her in and tie things back up at 3-3.
Koerselman’s fourth hit of the game got the Kats going in the bottom of the sixth, but Sam Houston still found itself needing a big two-out hit with a runner on at the end of the inning. The Kats got that big hit when Crosby launched the second pitch she saw out for a two-run home run to give Sam Houston a two-run edge going to the final frame.
But it did not take long for SIU-E to make up that difference in the top of the seventh. With just two outs left, consecutive singles started a rally and Smiley tied things up with a two-run double to left field. A walk was followed by a sacrifice and when Sarah Lopesilveross was hit by a pitch, the Cougars had the sacks loaded with two outs.
Cutright then drew a walk on four pitches to plate Abby Marlow. Heren and Chambers-Book followed with a pair of two-run doubles and an infield single by Curtis added another, giving the Cougars a commanding six-run lead going into the final at-bat for the Kats.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Koerselman finished 4-for-4 with an RBI from her leadoff spot, while Ashley Goetz provided three hits and an RBI. Crosby finished with two hits in four at-bats, including her go-ahead homer in the sixth.
Sam Houston will now head to College Station on Wednesday to take on Texas A&M on Wednesday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.