HUNTSVILLE – The Sam Houston State Bearkats rebounded from a Game 1 loss to grit out a Game 2 win in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader against Abilene Christian at the Bearkat Softball Complex.
Sam Houston (19-22, 10-10 SLC) struggled to get any offense going in the opener of the series against ACU (28-17, 16-4 SLC) pitcher Sidney Holman, but got three runs in the first two frames of Game 2 and a strong outing from Lindsey McLeod before holding on in the ACU’s final at-bat to even things up for the day against the second-place team in the league.
Codi Carpenter had a pair of singles in Game 1, but the Kats only mustered one more against Holman in the opener. Meanwhile, the Wildcats got a 3-for-3 day from Peyton Hedrick that included a homer and a pair of runs scored, which was more than enough for Holman who went the distance for her 18th win of the season
But Game 2 was a different story for Sam Houston. Tiffany Thompson gave the Kats an early lead with a two-run homer in the first inning off of ACU starter Hannah Null and Tori Koerselman added an RBI single two innings later to make it a 3-0 lead.
McLeod took it from there, allowing just two hits through six scoreless frames before ACU rallied for a pair of runs in their final at-bat. The sophomore righty exited for one batter, but returned to get the final two outs and leave both the tying and go-ahead runners on base to secure the win.
The Bearkats will close out their series with ACU on Saturday with the finale set to begin at 3 p.m. The game will serve as Senior Day for the Bearkats as they will honor seniors Tayler Atkinson, Hannah Marino, Tori Koerselman, Ashley Kopps and Casey Sax.
Game 1 – Box Score
Abilene Christian 3, Sam Houston 0
Tayler Atkinson allowed just three runs in seven innings of work, but the Kats left five runners on base and never could get anything going against Holman in the opener as ACU kicked off the series with a 3-0 win.
ACU struck for single runs in the second, third and fifth and Holman held the Bearkats to just three hits on the day with two coming from Carpenter. Meanwhile, Hedrick connected on a pair of doubles and a home run while Kaleigh Singleton had a pair of hits and an RBI as well for the Wildcats.
Atkinson left Hedrick stranded on second after a double in the first, but could not keep ACU off the board in the second. A one-out single from Casey-May Huff got ACU going and a fielding and throwing error on the Bearkats on a grounder from Alyson Bischoff compounded the problem, allowing Huff to score the game’s first run. The inning could have grown, but the Kats were able to throw out pinch runner Caroline Adair at the plate on a grounder before Taylor Brown grounded out to end the inning.
The Wildcats got only one hit in the third, but they made it count as Hedrick blasted her 14th homer of the season over the left-center field wall to lead off the inning and give ACU a 2-0 advantage.
Sam Houston got singles from Koerselman and Carpenter in the third and fourth innings, but could not convert those hits into runs. ACU then added another run in the fifth for Holman, who finished with five punchouts in her seven innings in the circle. Hedrick once again was a thorn in the Kats’ side, leading off the inning with a double off the right-field wall and after moving up a base on a bunt, she made it 3-0 on a sacrifice fly to left field by Holly Neese.
The Kats put together their best threat of the day in the sixth as Thompson drew a one-out walk and Carpenter lined her second single of the day back up the middle to put runners at second and third. But Holman picked up a key strikeout of Megan Crosby before coaxing a comebacker from Kaitlynn Dawson to end the threat.
Game 2 – Box Score
Sam Houston 3, Abilene Christian 2
Three early runs and a key late-inning stop proved to be the winning formula for the Bearkats in the day’s nightcap as Sam Houston evened things up with a 3-2 win over the Wildcats.
Both teams managed only five hits in the game, but Sam Houston was able to make theirs count early and McLeod made them stand up with her third straight victory in as many appearances.
The sophomore cruised through her first six innings before running into trouble in the seventh, but still finished with seven strikeouts and only four hits allowed to move to 9-5 on the year. Meanwhile, Thompson delivered the big blow with her fourth homer of the year in the first frame before Koerselman added what proved to be the winning RBI with a single in the third.
Meanwhile, ACU got a strong effort from Null who fell to 10-13 on the year despite allowing just three runs in six innings of work.
The Kats did not manage to cross home plate in the first game, but it took them just two batters to get on the board in the day’s finale. A leadoff triple from Megan McDonald opened things up and Thompson brought her home one pitch later, launching the first pitch she saw from Null out to left field to give Sam Houston a quick 2-0 advantage.
McLeod worked around a hit in the second and a pair of base runners in the third before getting another run to work with from her offense in the bottom of the third frame. McDonald’s second hit of the game came on a one-out single and a four-pitch walk to Thompson immediately pushed her into scoring position. Two batters later Koerselman shot a 0-1 pitch into left field, bringing across McDonald for the second time in the game and pushing the lead to 3-0 for the Kats.
Meanwhile, McLeod had retired 10 hitters in a row going into the seventh, but immediately found herself in trouble when Neese singled to open ACU’s final at-bat and Brianna Barnhill drew a walk. A pinch-hit single from Donelle Johnson with one out finally got the Wildcats on the board and snapped an 18-inning scoreless streak for McLeod in the process. The Bearkats then went to the bullpen for Atkinson, who allowed a single back up the middle from Singleton that scored another run and drew ACU to within 3-2 and put the tying run on third with just one out.
The Kats then re-entered McLeod to face Alli Spivey, who nudged one into shallow left field that fell in front of Ashley Kopps; however, the home plate umpire ruled Spivey out on the play after stepping out of the batter’s box in the process of the swing for the second out, keeping the Kats in front 3-2 with two outs. McDonald then made a nice running catch in shallow center field on a flare from Brown to end the game and secure the win for the Kats.