ABILENE – Brooke Malia had three extra-base hits, but a late homer by Abilene Christian was all the Wildcats needed for a 2-1 win over Sam Houston State on Saturday afternoon to clinch the series at Polly Wells Park.
The freshman second baseman accounted for the Bearkats’ (19-28, 10-11 SLC) only run of the game with a solo homer off of ACU (20-21, 13-9 SLC) starter Hannah Null with one out in the fourth, but the Wildcats’ Brianna Barnhill did one better with a two-run shot with one out in the sixth to propel ACU to the win.
Malia’s other two hits were leadoff doubles, but the Kats were not able to do anything with it either time, including in the seventh inning when Null capped off her complete game by getting the final three Bearkats following the two-bagger.
Null moved her record to 16-11 on the season with the win, not walking a batter to go with five strikeouts. She allowed five hits in the game, with three coming from Malia. Meanwhile, Lindsey McLeod was strong in the circle for Sam Houston as well, striking out seven hitters in the game and allowing just six hits and one walk, but still saw her record fall to 12-10 for the season.
The Kats got a hit in each of the first three innings, including extra-base hits from Malia and Codi Carpenter, but was unable to get on the board until the fourth. That’s when Malia launched an 0-1 pitch over the right-center field fence off of Null to put the Bearkats in front 1-0.
ACU tried to answer, getting a single and a double to open up the home half of the inning. McLeod would follow with a strikeout of Barnhill before walking Kayla Keeling to load the sacks with less than two outs. But the Bearkat hurler turned it up from there, punching out Allyson Bishoff for the second out before setting down pinch hitter Savannah Rendon for the final out to keep the Kats out in front.
The Kats were not as fortunate in the sixth. Holly Neese opened the inning with a single, but after a fly out by Peyton Hedrick, Barnhill connected on an 0-1 pitch for a homer to straightaway center field that proved to be all the runs the Wildcats would need.
Sam Houston doesn’t have a midweek on the schedule the rest of the way and can now turn its attention to its final six league games, all to be played at home. That stretch will kick off on Friday when it hosts Southeastern Louisiana in a doubleheader set to begin at 3 p.m. at the Bearkat Softball Complex.