HUNTSVILLE – The Lamar Cardinals hit four home runs in two games and took both ends of a doubleheader on the first day of a weekend series with Sam Houston State on Friday at the Bearkat Softball Complex.
Lamar cranked three long balls and got a complete-game performance from Laura Napoli in the opener before pushing across 10 runs on 17 hits in the nightcap to clinch the series.
Sam Houston and Lamar will conclude the series on Saturday at noon with Game 3.
Game 1 – Box Score
Lamar 6, Sam Houston 1
Lindsey McLeod added 12 more strikeouts to her league-leading total, but allowed three homers to Lamar in the process as the Cardinals picked up a 6-1 win in the opener.
The Bearkats scratched across a run in the first inning on singles by Sheridan Fisher and Tiffany Thompson, along with an error. But Lamar starter Laura Napoli would only allow three more singles the rest of the way. Napoli struck out just one batter in the game, but did not issue a free pass, needing just 85 pitches to navigate her way to her 10th win of the season.
On the flip side, McLeod rang up a dozen Cardinals on strikes, but issued four walks and allowed nine hits – five for extra bases and three that left the yard. She struck out the side in the opening inning, but allowed a triple and then a homer to Shelby Henderson, in the second inning that quickly put the Cardinals ahead for good.
Kelly Meeuwsen connected on a solo homer in the third to up the lead to 3-1 and from there Napoli would keep the Kats at bay, retiring 10 batters in a row until a leadoff single by Megan Crosby in the bottom of the seventh.
That came after Lamar added three more insurance runs in the top of the inning on an RBI double by Taylor Davis and a two-run homer by Kendall Talley.
Game 2 – Box Score
Lamar 10, Sam Houston 5
Both offenses came to play in the second game of the day, but again it was the Cardinal offense that brought more firepower. Lamar erupted for 17 hits against three Bearkat pitchers, including seven extra-base hits.
That was enough to overcome Bearkat homers from both Thompson and Katie Andrie, the second cutting the lead down to 7-5 in the third inning. But Lamar managed runs in five of the seven frames and the relief duo of Napoli and Anissa Rodriguez combined for 4.2 scoreless innings.
Rodriguez did not allow a hit in her 2.1 innings in earning her first win of the year before turning it over to Napoli who added 2.1 two-hit frames for her fourth save. Darby Fitzpatrick took the loss, allowing six runs in 2.0 innings, while Annie Bailey and Kaitlynn Dawson pitched the final five frames to the finish.
Lamar wasted no time getting on the board, putting up three runs in the first and another and another in the second on an RBI double by Meeuwsen, quickly going up 4-0. An RBI single from Fisher and a two-run homer by Andrie would cut that lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the second, but Lamar answered with three more tallies in the visiting half of the third.
A two-run shot from Thompson trimmed it back to 7-5 and got into the Cardinal bullpen, but from there the Bearkat bats went quiet. Henderson’s second two-run homer of the doubleheader came in the fourth and she added an RBI double in the sixth to cap the scoring and her four-RBI game.