SAN ANTONIO – The Sam Houston State Bearkats rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth to complete a three-game sweep of UIW with a 4-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Cardinals Field.
The win gives the Kats (11-11, 3-0 SLC) their first league-opening sweep and 3-0 start to SLC play since the 2006 season.
Kaitlynn Dawson allowed just one earned run in a 4.0-inning start and delivered a 2-for-3 day at the plate to lead the way for the Kats, while Tayler Atkinson pitched 2.2 innings of one-hit relief to close it out and pick up the win.
Sam Houston pounded out nine hits in the game, with five coming in the decisive sixth inning. Four of those came in succession with two outs, including the go-ahead RBI single from Hannah Marino.
Sam Houston gave itself a quick 1-0 lead with a run in the bottom of the second without getting a ball out of the infield. Tiffany Thompson reached on a bunt single on the first pitch of the inning and immediately moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ashley Goetz. A grounder to the right side by Katie Andrie moved Thompson up another base and Samantha Belongia got her home with an RBI bunt single.
The Kats were their own worst enemy in the third as the Cardinals knotted the score at 1-1. An infield single by Delaney Guzman got UIW started and a sacrifice bunt moved her into scoring position. A Bearkat throwing error one batter later allowed Guzman to come in from second to tie the game before Dawson got consecutive ground outs to end the frame.
Guzman quickly put UIW out in front in the sixth, leading off the inning with a solo homer to put the cardinals up 2-1. UIW got two more runners on base with one out before Sam Houston turned to Casey Kauder out of the bullpen, who managed to strand both runners and keep the Kats down just one run.
Dawson’s second hit of the day quickly gave the Kats a threat in the sixth when she doubled to open the inning. A sacrifice bunt from Codi Carpenter moved pinch runner Ashley Kopps up a base and two batters later Goetz roped a 3-1 pitch into left field to knot things up at 2-2. Andrie kept the inning alive by following with a single and the Kats then turned to Marino off the bench who delivered a go-ahead RBI single to score Goetz. One batter later Megan McDonald gave Sam Houston an insurance run with an RBI single of her own, giving the Kats a 4-2 edge going to the bottom of the inning.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Dawson had a pair of hits, including a double, while Goetz finished 2-for-2 with the game-tying RBI in the sixth. Four Kats picked up RBI in the game, including Belongia and McDonald.
The Bearkats, who have now won four in a row, will look to pick up their fifth straight win on Tuesday when they host Texas Southern at 6:30 p.m. at the Bearkat Softball Complex.